This is what drew me in. I spied a Little Free Library while we were walking to our car in Beaufort, South Carolina and immediately stopped. Poor Chris is getting pretty used to my swivel head when it comes to spying Little Free Libraries.
But this one was extra special because of where it was located. I had no idea that The Pat Conroy Literary Center was in Beaufort but it totally made sense after I saw it. After all, Pat Conroy was a lover of all things Southern and lived on both Fripp Island and Beaufort for years. We had no real itineary so Chris indulged me once again and we made a quick stop at the Literary Center.
Mounted outside the building is the plaque that tells a little bit about the Literary Center and its purpose. The beautiful center boasts some really wonderful things including copies of all of Conroy’s works as well as memorabilia and books from Conroy’s own library.
A wall of framed pictures share the journey of Pat Conroy from young man to adult and our guide was quite knowledgeable about all facets of his life.
The Literary Center was welcoming and the perfect place to spend some time learning more about this prolific writer. I learned so much about him in just a short time and it endeared me to him. Another life taken too soon but one that continues to give people much joy after his death when his books are read.
The mission of the center as stated on their website is as follows:
The Pat Conroy Literary Center educates and inspires a community of readers, writers, and teachers in and beyond our home in the South Carolina lowcountry. In honor of our namesake, one of America’s best loved writers and truth-tellers, the Conroy Center continues Pat Conroy’s courageous and generous-hearted legacy as a teacher, mentor, advocate, and friend to storytellers of every kind.
Based in Conroy’s beloved hometown and muse of Beaufort, the Conroy Center will develop an inclusive, sustainable, and highly visible educational presence by hosting exhibitions drawn from Conroy’s writing life, presenting workshops on the writing craft and professionalization, organizing book group discussions, offering presentations by local and visiting writers and literary arts leaders, sponsoring mentorship programs and awards to foster a great love of literature among young and emerging writers, honoring the vital work of educators, holding as our signature event the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, fostering a robust online outreach to our global audience, and partnering with schools, universities, libraries, festivals, fellow nonprofits, and other humanities organizations to enhance the literary arts.
Collectively these ambitious efforts serve as an open invitation to all of those from around the globe who have appreciated and benefited from Pat Conroy’s extraordinary gifts and generosity to join us in championing the transformative power of education and of story itself to reshape our lives and our world for the betterment of all.
There were some really wonderful displays including a quilt that featured his books, his family and a lot of other glimpses into his life.
One of my favorite areas was a wall that people had stuck notes to Pat —it was very moving to see the many post it notes that had been left.
I was drawn to the area where his books were displayed for sale and I ended up buying The Water is Wideas it is one of his books I have not read yet. Chris and I actually listened to part of The Great Santini on the way home and I am finishing up listening to it while I walk. We watched the movie when we got home so I already know how it ends but that’s okay.
But without a doubt my favorite thing was seeing Pat Conroy’s desk and chair along with the yellow legal pad that he wrote his novels on. No computer or typewriter for this man – he loved the written word on yellow legal pads.
Even more exciting? Being able to sit in that same chair where so many wonderful words and phrases were written.
If you are ever in Beaufort take a little side trip to Port Republic Street and check out the center. Check out their website to find out more about the Pat Conroy Literary Center and keep up with all of the events that they have in the center and beyond. The link to their website and other social media channels are listed below.
If you are a Pat Conroy fan what is your favorite book that he penned? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section and remember to Comment for a Cause.