The Pat Conroy Literary Center presents
Our First Writers Retreat Weekend at the Anchorage 1770 Inn

January 26–28, 2018

<< This retreat is SOLD OUT >>

Anchorage 1770 Inn

Join us for an exclusive weekend writers retreat with four acclaimed fiction writers and memoirists and two distinguished literary agents, held at an award-winning historic inn located in the heart of Southern Living’s 2017 Best Small Town in America—beautiful Beaufort by the sea. Participating writers will immerse themselves in a dozen retreat sessions certain to inspire and enlighten as well as educate as our dedicated faculty members share the transformational insights garnered through successful literary careers (and some not-so-successful beginnings) in the same generous mentoring spirit as the late Pat Conroy. In the retreat’s intimate setting, writers will get to know one another as well as our faculty over a span of three days and two nights of empowering workshops, panel discussions, writing exercises, readings, critiques, and social gatherings.

Proceeds benefit the year-round programming of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, an affiliate of the American Writers Museum and an American Library Association United for Libraries Literary Landmark.

Retreat Faculty: New York Times bestselling authors Mary Alice Monroe, Patti Callahan Henry, and Cassandra King Conroy; acclaimed memoirist and editor Signe Pike; and top literary agents Faye Bender and Marly Rusoff. Our deep gratitude to our distinguished faculty for generously donating their time at the retreat in support of the year-round programs and outreach of the Conroy Center.

Our heartfelt thanks to Sleep in History – Erica and John Dickerson for their sponsorship.

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 26

Optional afternoon activities

Noon–4:00 p.m.: Visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center at 308 Charles Street (a short walk from the Anchorage 1770 Inn) for a guided exploration of the writing life of the author of The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides. Free and open to the public. www.patconroyliterarycenter.org

2:00–3:30 p.m.: Reserve your seat on Beaufort Tour’s guided bus tour of Pat Conroy’s Beaufort. Departs from the Beaufort Marina Store (across from the Anchorage 1770 Inn) promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a 90-minute tour. Advance registration required: www.beauforttoursllc.com/pat_conroys_beaufort.html

7:00–8:00 p.m.: Welcome and Introductions
Meet the retreat faculty and come prepared to introduce yourself, explain the topic (or desired topic) of your work in 1–2 sentences.
Dessert, wine and non-alcoholic refreshments served.

8:00–9:00 p.m.: Story Hour **
During Story Hour retreat participants will have the opportunity to share a five-minute reading sample—preferably the opening—of their writing. The reading can come from a finished product, an idea, or a work in progress. The retreat faculty will offer constructive feedback.

Requirements: Readings not to exceed five minutes. Each individual reading in the group setting will be followed by supportive and constructive feedback from the retreat leaders. Samples are to be read out loud or circulated as a handout if the participant prefers. (Participants are to provide adequate number of handouts for participants and retreat leaders.)

**Participants should be prepared to share on either night, as half the participants will share on Friday and the remaining half on Saturday.

Saturday, January 27

9:00–10:30 a.m.:  The Elements of Story, instructor Mary Alice Monroe
Join New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe to learn the nuts and bolts of storytelling. Monroe will share techniques learned from a 25-year career–from a fiery start to a satisfying ending. Learn the key elements that make up any successful tale.
Continental breakfast and coffee served.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for notetaking and writing exercises.

10:30–11:00 a.m.: Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. –noon: A Matter of Style, instructor Cassandra King Conroy
Bestselling author Cassandra King Conroy will review character, setting, choosing tense, point of view, etc. In this important Dos and Don’ts session, Conroy will guide writers of both fiction and nonfiction with her insights from years of personal experience as an author and as a writer who has also served as a judge in several literary contests.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for notetaking and writing exercises.

Noon–1:30 p.m.: Lunch
Retreat faculty will join participants for lunch and conversation on the writing craft.

1:30–2:45 p.m.: The Soul of Story, instructor Patti Callahan Henry
Join New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry as she discusses the “Soul of Story”—how to identify, capitalize and perfect the human journey/motivation of your character.  Soul of the story is the emotional journey of transformation. How do we allow the external plot to affect change in the character’s internal life?

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises. Best to have an idea of the character you will be writing about.

2:45–3:00 p.m.:  Break

3:00–4:15 p.m.: The Art of Memoir, instructor Signe Pike
Join editor and memoirist Signe Pike to discuss the top elements that create a successful memoir as well as the potential pitfalls creative nonfiction writers struggle with in attempting to tell their stories.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

4:15–4:30 p.m.: Break

4:30–5:30 p.m.: Revision: Every Word Is Not a Pearl, instructors Mary Alice Monroe, Cassandra King Conroy, Patti Callahan Henry, and Signe Pike
Our panel of authors will discuss the critical process of rewrites and revisions, integral to an author’s success. Experienced authors will provide personal insights into how to make a book the best it can be.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

5:30–6:30 p.m.: Story Hour **
During Story Hour retreat participants will have the opportunity to share a five-minute reading sample—preferably the opening—of their writing. The reading can come from a finished product, an idea, or a work in progress. The retreat faculty will offer constructive feedback.

Requirements: Readings not to exceed five minutes. Each individual reading in the group setting will be followed by supportive and constructive feedback from the retreat leaders. Samples are to be read out loud or circulated as a handout if the participant prefers. (Participants are to provide adequate number of handouts for participants and retreat leaders.)

**Participants should be prepared to share on either night, as half the participants will share on Friday and the remaining half on Saturday.

Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres served.

6:30 p.m. – Dinner on Your Own
We’ll provide a list of recommended restaurants within walking distance of the Anchorage 1770 inn for dinner on your own along Beaufort’s iconic waterfront and downtown.

Sunday, January 28

9:00–10:00 a.m.: Breakfast Panel with Agents Marly Rusoff and Faye Bender, moderated by Mary Alice Monroe
Join top literary agents Marly Rusoff of the Marly Rusoff Literary Agency and Faye Bender of the Book Group as they share their insights and experience on the elements of a successful query letter and what makes a winning manuscript.
Continental breakfast and coffee served.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

10:00–10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30–11:30 a.m.: Tips from an Editor, instructor Signe Pike
Former Random House/Ballantine and Penguin/Plume editor Signe Pike will share tips on getting published, offer her expertise, and answer questions from participants.

Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Agents & Authors Roundtable: Closing discussion with all retreat faculty. Participant Q&A: This is your last chance to ask that all-important question!

12:30 p.m.– Lunch on Your Own

Optional afternoon activities

Noon–4:00 p.m.: Visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center at 308 Charles Street (a short walk from the Anchorage 1770 Inn) for a guided exploration of the writing life of the author of The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides. Free and open to the public. www.patconroyliterarycenter.org

2:00–3:30 p.m.: Reserve your seat on Beaufort Tour’s guided bus tour of Pat Conroy’s Beaufort. Departs from the Beaufort Marina Store (across from the Anchorage 1770 Inn) promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a 90-minute tour. Advance registration required: www.beauforttoursllc.com/pat_conroys_beaufort.html

Meet Your Faculty

Faye Bender

The Book Group, www.thebookgroup.com
With almost 20 years of experience as an agent, Faye Bender represents fiction for readers aged 8 to adult. Her authors have won numerous awards and honors, including the Newbery Medal, the Schneider Family Book Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the International Latino Book and have been finalists for the National Book Award. Her clients’ books have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Book Review Notable Books, and selected for Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and the New York Public Library, among others. Her authors include Mary Alice Monroe, Signe Pike, Kristin Cashore, Rebecca Stead, Francisco X. Stork, Debby Dahl Edwardson, Liane Moriarty, Lizzie Foley, Natalie C. Anderson, Helen Phillips, Melissa Albert, Karen Romano Young, and Calla Devlin. Faye is always eager to discover authors with a strong narrative voice, and works with her authors for the length and breadth of their careers.

Faye Bender

www.cassandrakingconroy.com
Cassandra King Conroy is the award-winning author of five novels, a book of nonfiction, numerous short stories, essays, and magazine articles, most recently appearing in Coastal Living and Southern Living. Her New York Times and USA Today bestselling second novel, The Sunday Wife, was a People magazine Page-Turner, a South Carolina’s Readers Circle choice, and named as one of Book Sense’s top reading group selections. Also a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, The Same Sweet Girls was a number one Book Sense selection on release. Both novels were nominated for SIBA’s Book of the Year. Moonrise was a SIBA Okra Pick and bestseller, as was The Same Sweet Girls Guide to Life: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle. Recently honored as a 2017 Alabama Humanities Foundation Fellow, Conroy is currently working on a memoir cookbook about life with her late husband, Pat Conroy.

Faye Bender