Pat Conroy Literary Center Launches New Book Club, Reading All 12 of Conroy’s Books in First Year

Beginning in April 2019, the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will launch a new monthly book club, reading and discussing all twelve of Conroy’s published memoirs and novels in order of publication, from The Boo (1969) to A Lowcountry Heart (2016). Each monthly session will be led by a guest discussion leader familiar with the work, and all meetings will be held at the Conroy Center at 905 Port Republic Street in historic downtown Beaufort. These events are free, but advance registration is required as seating is limited. Participants are asked to read the selected books before the meetings and to come prepared for the discussion.
Interested readers can sign up for the monthly book club meetings at or
Held on Tuesday, April 2, the inaugural Pat Conroy Literary Center Book Club meeting was led by novelist John Warley, a Citadel ‘67 classmate of Pat Conroy’s, and discussed Conroy’s first book, The Boo, self-published in 1969, honoring Pat’s Citadel mentor Lt. Colonel Nugent Courvoisie, “the Boo.”
The Conroy Center Book Club will continue on Thursday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m. with a discussion of The Water Is Wide (1972), Pat’s memoir of his storied year of teaching eighteen students in a two-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island, twice adapted for film. The discussion of The Water Is Wide will be led by USC Beaufort assistant professor of English Mollie Barnes, who was a coordinator for USCB’s First-Year Reading Experience programs for The Water Is Wide in 2016–17.

On Thursday, June 13, also at 5:30 p.m., Pat’s brother Tim Conroy, a retired educator and published poet, will lead a discussion of The Great Santini, Pat’s autobiographical novel of a larger-than-life USMC fighter pilot and his family, published in 1976 and also adapted for film.
The Conroy Center Book Club’s July 16, 5:30 p.m., discussion will focus on The Lords of Discipline, Conroy’s second novel, published in 1980, critiquing his military college experience. That discussion will be led by Sean Heuston, professor of English at the Citadel who has taught The Lords of Discipline to cadets for more than a decade.
With dates to be announced later in the year, the book club’s August discussion of The Prince of Tides will be helmed by USC Beaufort English professor and writer-in-residence Ellen Malphrus and the club’s September discussion of Beach Music will be led by Lowcountry Weekly publisher and editor Margaret Evans, who was Conroy’s assistant during the writing of that novel. The book club’s discussions of Conroy’s dozen books will continue through March 2020. Thereafter, club participants will help the Conroy Center set the course for a second year of book selections and discussions.
The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center is South Carolina’s first affiliate of the American Writers Museum and second American Library Association Literary Landmark. Through its interpretive center, year-round educational programs, and annual literary festival, the Conroy Center preserves and continues the literary legacy of Pat Conroy (1945–2016) as a teacher, mentor, advocate, and friend to readers and writers alike. TripAdvisor’s top-ranked destination in Beaufort, the Conroy Center is located at 905 Port Republic Street in Beaufort, open to the public from noon to 4:00 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
To learn more about the year-round educational programs offered through the Conroy Center, please visit