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

March 6 – 8, 2020

Anchorage 1770 Inn

You’re invited to an exclusive writers retreat weekend at the historic Anchorage 1770 Inn in the heart of beautiful Beaufort by the sea. Participating writers will immerse themselves in a collaborative experience with our distinguished faculty of award-winning writers and publishing professionals as they share their insights and experiences in the same generous mentoring spirit as the late Pat Conroy. In the retreat’s intimate setting, writers will get to know each other and our instructors over three days and two nights of empowering workshops, discussions, writing prompts, readings, critiques, and social gatherings.

Proceeds benefit the year-round educational programming of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, TripAdvisor’s top-ranked destination in Beaufort, winner of the 2019 Civitas Award for Tourism Leadership, an affiliate of the American Writers Museum, and an American Library Association United for Libraries Literary Landmark.

Retreat Faculty: Winners of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: novelists Mindy Friddle , Bren McClain , and Tiffany Quay Tyson ; poet, novelist, editor, and teacher William Walsh ; writer and author consultant Stephanie Austin Edwards ; and literary agent Emma Patterson.

Schedule of Events

Friday, March 6

Optional afternoon activities

Noon–4:00 p.m.: Visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center at 905 Port Republic 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 van tour of Pat Conroy’s Beaufort with Beaufort Tours. 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

Retreat Begins

5:00–6:45 p.m.: First Friday Reading at the Pat Conroy Literary Center
Meet faculty members Stephanie Austin Edwards, Mindy Friddle, Bren McClain, Tiffany Quay Tyson, and William Walsh for a panel discussion and reading at the Pat Conroy Literary Center, 905 Port Republic St. This event is also open to the public. Light refreshments.

7:00–9:00 p.m.: Introductions and Our First Critique Reading**
Meet all of the retreat faculty at the Anchorage 1770 Inn. Come prepared to introduce yourself, briefly explain the topic (or desired topic) of your work, and share what you hope to get out of your writers retreat experience. Refreshments, wine, and non-alcoholic refreshments served.

During the Critique Reading, 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. Facilitated by Stephanie Austin Edwards, 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, March 7

8:00–9:15 a.m.: Breakfast with our faculty

9:30–10:30 a.m.: William Walsh, Failing Better: Lessons Learned from My Mistakes and Successes as a Writer
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”—Samuel Beckett
Instructor’s notes: I will discuss, candidly, the mistakes I have made, how to avoid these pitfalls, what you can do to have a more successful writing career, and in general, give my Tough Love Talk to those who refuse to give up and take no for an answer. This discussion will motivate you into action and/or reaffirm your commitment to publishing your work.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

10:30–11:00 a.m.: Break

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Tiffany Quay Tyson, Setting as Character: Writing Your Fictional World
Instructor’s notes: Many writers create settings that are as integral to their work as the story on the page. When rendered well, these places function as active characters. Think of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, Flannery O’Connor’s rural southern landscapes, Shirley Jackson’s cursed villages, Pat Conroy’s Carolina Lowcountry, or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s West Egg. Whether realistic or fantastic, a great setting serves as more than a backdrop to the story. We’ll look at examples and then explore strategies to incorporate descriptions and details that will bring your fictional world to life.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

Noon–1:30 p.m.: Lunch with our faculty

1:30–3:00 p.m.: Bren McClain, Transforming What Really Happened
Instructor’s notes: A wise writer once said, “When you write fiction, you have to get the journalism out of the way.” Yet, many of us, when we write a story based on something that really happened, stay tied to the verbatim truth of that. Then why not write it as nonfiction? What sets fiction apart is our imagination, transforming “what really happened” into what needs to happen to serve the story. I’m talking about applying pressure so that we see what your character is capable of. Or not. They’ll never know this glory, unless you have the guts to push them. Staying tethered to “what really happened” robs both the writer and the reader for the glory of what could be. This is a generative workshop, bring your “what really happened” and let’s apply some real pressure. Let’s see what your characters are capable of. I’m telling you — that’s the sweet, sweet glory.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

3:00–3:30 p.m.: Break

3:30–4:30 p.m.: Mindy Friddle, The Power of Point of View
Instructor’s notes: From unreliable narrators, to first-person plural, to omniscient third-person, we’ll explore a variety of point-of-view examples in fiction. You’ll find a new range of possibilities for your work by learning to write from more points of view. After all, choosing the perspective of the character(s) and narrator is one of the most important decisions a fiction writer makes.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking and writing exercises.

4:30–5:00 p.m. Break

5:00–6:30 p.m. Our Second Critique Reading**
During the Critique Reading, 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. Facilitated by Stephanie Austin Edwards, 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: The Anchorage 1770 Inn will 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, March 8

8:00–9:00 a.m. Breakfast with our faculty

9:00-10:15 a.m.: Stephanie Austin Edwards, Creative Organization for Writers
Instructor’s notes: Finding time for writing is a challenge for many, so let’s learn to make the most of limited time through being better organized for creativity. This class offers productivity advice and tools on how to get started and keep going for maximum creative flow and minimum technical frustration. I will guide you through techniques making and maintaining a writing schedule; organizing documents and files for consistent easy access; formatting work for submission to editors, agents, and publishers; discussing book genres and manuscript lengths for publication; and sorting through the abundance of online help and software available. This workshop is designed to help writers of all levels of experience create and maintain a personal system of organization that then allows time for writing focus more impactfully on the creative act itself.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking.

10:15–10:45 a.m.: Break & check-out time (bags can be held in the lobby until departure)

10:45–11:45 a.m.: Emma Patterson, Querying for Publication
Instructor’s notes: You’ve finished your manuscript. Congratulations! Now how do you get it published? After explaining the role of an agent and how you find your possible agent matches, this session will cover how to approach agents and publishers with a query letter: the basic structure, helpful hints, what to do and what not to do.
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking.

11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.: The Author-Agent Relationship: Our closing discussion will address the collaborative author-agent relationship from the myriad perspectives of our faculty members, as well as some success stories and cautionary tales from their paths to publication, with or without an agent. This is also your last chance to ask that all-important question!
Requirements: Pen and paper and/or laptop for note taking.

1:00 p.m.– Lunch on Your Own

Optional afternoon activities

Noon–4:00 p.m.: Visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center at 905 Port Republic 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 with Beaufort Tours. 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

Mindy Friddle

Mindy Friddle is the author of The Garden Angel, selected for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. Her second novel, Secret Keepers, won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. Her recent short stories have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, Steel Toe Review, and Phoebe. The South Carolina Arts Commission granted Mindy a Fellowship in Prose, and she has twice won the South Carolina Fiction Prize. Named a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Mindy has been awarded residencies at Ragdale and Bread Loaf. She earned her MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, a columnist, and book reviewer. An Army Brat, she was born in South Carolina, and lived in Europe, California, and Virginia, before returning to the Palmetto State, where she now lives on the coast.

Bren McClain

Bren McClain’s critically acclaimed debut novel, One Good Mama Bone from Pat Conroy’s Story River Books, won the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and the 2018 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature. It was also named Pulpwood Queen 2017 Book of the Year, a 2017 Great Group Reads by the Women’s National Book Association, a Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) Okra pick, longlisted for SIBA’s Southern Book Prize and a finalist for the 2018 Crook’s Corner Prize. The novel can now claim international in its credits, since it was recently published in France and retitled Mama Red. Bren is at work on her next novel, which has already received acclaim as the gold medal winner for the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress. She is also a contributing essayist to the award-winning anthology Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. A native of Anderson, South Carolina, Bren now lives and writes near Nashville, Tennessee.

Faye Bender

Tiffany Quay Tyson is the author of two novels. Her most recent, The Past is Never, received numerous awards including the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, and the Mississippi Author Award for Adult Fiction from the Mississippi Library Association. Her debut novel, Three Rivers, was described by novelist John Dufresne as, “heartfelt, redemptive, sometimes harrowing, and irresistible.” She serves on the faculty of Lighthouse Writers Workshop and the Lighthouse Young Writers Program in Denver, Colorado. Tiffany is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and a graduate of Delta State University. She is currently working on a new novel.

Faye Bender

William Walsh is the author of four books of poetry, four novels, three film screenplays, a collection of interviews, an anthology of contemporary American poetry, and a collection of essays. He is the director of the Etowah Valley MFA Program at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate creative writing and literature. Among his awards for his writing, he has received the 2018 ĆerveŃa Barva Press Editors Book Series Award, Georgia Author of the Year, and his work has been recognized by the Association of American University Presses as a Selection for Public and Secondary Libraries. He has been a finalist or semi-finalist in competitions, including the Glimmer Train Short Story Contest and the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for his novels The Boomerang Mattress, Haircuts for the Dead, and The Pig Rider. His work has appeared in AWP Chronicle, Cimarron Review, Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, Georgia Review, James Dickey Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Slant, Shenandoah, and Valpar

Emma Patterson

Emma Patterson has been working at literary agencies for seventeen years, first at the Wendy Weil Agency and currently at Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, where she has been since 2013. Emma grew up in New Jersey as an avid reader and daughter of a literary agent, then attended Kenyon College in Ohio and graduated with a degree in history. Her fiction taste ranges from dark, funny, or lyrical voice-driven literary novels to suspenseful, historical, or contemporary upmarket fiction. In non-fiction, she is interested in narrative projects that include memoir, journalism, and history. In both, she is drawn to emotional narratives, transporting settings, and unforgettable characters. Some titles she has represented that illustrate her tastes are Adrienne Celt’s Invitation to a Bonfire , Kristen Iskandrian’s Motherest, Kim Church’s Byrd , Louise Aronson’s bestseller Elderhood, and Gregg Herken’s The Georgetown Set. She also represents the bestselling author Rita Mae Brown, the annual O. Henry Prize Stories (edited by Laura Furman), and Mark Helprin, author of the classic Winter’s Tale.

Stephanie Austin Edwards

Before Stephanie Austin Edwards returned to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and to her love of writing, she had a twenty-two-year career in New York theater, film, and television with such talents as Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson, Lauren Bacall, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Bill Cosby, and Michael Bennett. Stephanie now writes fiction and non-fiction, facilitates writers groups, teaches writing workshops, and consults with authors. Her debut novel, What We Set in Motion, won a Best Submission Award at the Atlanta Writer’s Club Conference. She is also a contributing writer to Our Prince of Scribes, an anthology about her high school friend and classmate Pat Conroy, and Short Story America VI . Edwards is honored to be part of forwarding the mission of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, where she volunteers, leads writing workshops, and co-chairs the twice-monthly meetings of the Lowcountry Writers Group, a chapter of the South Carolina Writers Association. She lives and writes in nearby Port Royal.

Call (877) 951-1770 for Reservations
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