South Carolina

SC festival will celebrate author Pat Conroy

Award-winning author Pat Conroy wholeheartedly endorses the idea of a three-day festival in honor of his life and work.

Actually, he says he only agreed to it because his publisher took advantage of his befuddled state while coming off general anesthesia after surgery.

“I think it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve done everything I could to stop it and I failed,” he said.

Which, of course, means the Lowcountry resident will be a prominent presence at “Pat Conroy at 70: A Literary Festival Celebrating South Carolina’s Prince of Titles.” It will be Oct. 29 through 31.

PC@70, as it will be called for short, will be a series of special events at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. There will be partner events with the Historic Beaufort Foundation, the Beaufort History Museum, the Beaufort Film Society, and the Pat Conroy Archive at USC Libraries.

Conroy turns 70 on Oct. 26.

“I never thought I’d be so old,” he said last week. “For me, 70 is the new 100.”

The plan is for a series of panel presentations and roundtables for writers and artists to talk about their experiences with Conroy and his role as a mentor and an advocate for Southern literature.

Additional events will include a screening of the film adaptation of Conroy’s novel “The Great Santini” and a moderated discussion of Conroy on the film, an exhibition at the John Mark Verdier House, a tour of private homes and gardens as part of Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Fall Festival of Homes & Gardens, and a birthday party at the Beaufort History Museum.

A Facebook page — which Conroy groaned upon hearing of — is already live at www.facebook.com/PatConroyAt70, and the official website will launch in June at www.patconroyat70.com.

The festival will be open to the public, except for long-time friend and fellow author Bernie Schein, Conroy said. Schein — who is listed as a festival participant – will be on a short, one-person list of people banned at the door.

“That’s the only thing they promised me,” Conroy said.

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