2019 Festival Presenters also SCWA Event Presenters

The Pat Conroy Literary Festival’s list of scheduled presenters is subject to change without notice, but every effort will be made to announce changes through the this festival’s website and Facebook feed. Some of the presenters are part of South  Carolina Writer Association Events running in parallel with Pat Conroy Festival.

In their new book A Wholly Admirable Thing, Virginia and Dana Beach chronicle ten stories that showcase the rise of the Coastal Conservation League to one of the country’s most tenacious and innovative conservation groups.  Virginia Beach writes for numerous local and regional publications on the subjects of conservation and natural history and has served on the staffs of The Nature Conservancy, the Lowcountry Open Land Trust and the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, as well as on the national editorial board of Saving Land. A native of Richmond, she earned a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in East Africa. Virginia’s first book, Medway, a history of a Lowcountry rice plantation, was published by Wyrick & Company with photographs by Tom Blagden. Her most recent book, Rice & Ducks: The Surprising Convergence that Saved the Carolina Lowcountry, published jointly by Ducks Unlimited and Evening Post Books, is a history of the land conservation movement in Lowcountry South Carolina and won the 2015 Independent Publisher’s gold medal for best southeastern nonfiction. | Dana Beach was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College in mathematics and received an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After several years in the financial sector, Dana returned to his home state and became active in the environmental movement, founding the S.C. Coastal Conservation League in 1989. Dana is the recipient of the S.C. Order of the Palmetto, the James L. Dockery Southern Environmental Leadership Award, the EPA and Environmental Law Institute National Wetlands Award, and the S.C. Legislature’s Environmental Awareness Award. He is also the author of Coastal Sprawl, a Pew Oceans Commission report on the effects of urban design on aquatic ecosystems. In 2014 Dana wrote Deveaux, a book featuring his photographs of the Deveaux Bank seabird sanctuary, published jointly by the University of South Carolina Press and the Coastal Conservation League. A year later he received the Peter Benchley Hero of the Seas Award. | Coauthors of the newly published A Wholly Admirable Thing: Stories of the Coastal Conservation League, Virginia and Dana are also avid birders and nature enthusiasts, having lived in Charleston for 35 years and raised their two children there. While they have served as each other’s editors for many years, A Wholly Admirable Thing is the couple’s first joint book.www.scccl.org

Megan Mayhew Bergman is the author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Almost Famous Women, and a forthcoming novel with Scribner. She has served as the associate director of Bennington College’s MFA Program, and now teaches at Middlebury College, where she is the director of their Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference. Her work has been published in the New York Times, New Yorker, The Guardian, Ploughshares, Paris Review, Oxford American, and Best American Short Stories. She was a fellow at the American Library in Paris and received the Garrett Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She resides on a small farm Vermont with her husband and children.  www.mayhewbergman.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 in Coastal Living and Southern Living. Her New York Times and USA Today best-selling second novel, The Sunday Wife, was a People magazine Page-Turner, a South Carolina’s Readers Circle choice, and one of Book Sense’s top reading group selections. Also a New York Times and USA Today best seller, The Same Sweet Girls was a number-one Book Sense selection on release. Both novels were nominated for Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Book of the Year. Moonrise was a SIBA Okra Pick and best seller, 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 and a cookbook about life with her late husband, Pat Conroy. She is also a contributing writer to Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.

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. She now writes fiction and non-fiction, facilitates writers groups, teaches writing workshops, and consults with authors. She is the author of the award-winning novel What We Set in Motion and a contributing writer to Our Prince of Scribes, an anthology about her high school friend, Pat Conroy, and has contributed stories to Short Story America VI. Edwards is honored to be part of forwarding the mission of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, where she volunteers and leads writing workshops.  www.stephanieaustinedwards.com

Margaret Evans is the editor and publisher of Lowcountry Weekly, where she pens her South Carolina Press Association Award–winning column Rants & Raves. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications throughout the South, most recently State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, volume 2, Southbound magazine, and Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. She is the former editor of Beaufort magazine and former assistant to Pat Conroy. Evans lives in Beaufort, where she is a member of the Pat Conroy Literary Center’s advisory council.

Award-winning poetry and nonfiction writer Maureen Ryan Griffin has taught writing and creativity workshops for nearly fifteen years at many locations, including Queens University, Central Piedmont Community College, and the John Campbell Folk School. Maureen has also been a commentator on Public Radio Station WFAE 90.7. She has penned This Scatter of Blossoms, When The Leaves Are In The Water, and Spinning Words into Gold and her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Charlotte Observer, St. Anthony Messenger, Potato Eyes, Kalliope, Chelsea, Cincinnati Poetry Review, and Catfish Stew. 10,000 Cicadas Can’t Be Wrong is her latest book of new and selected poems. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.  www.wordplaynow.com

Jonathan Haupt is the executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, the founding director of the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, and the former director of the University of South Carolina Press. He serves on the boards of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the Friends of South Carolina Libraries and on the advisory board of the South Carolina Humanities and the affiliates steering committee of the American Writers Museum. Haupt’s book reviews and author interviews have appeared in the Charleston Post and Courier; Lowcountry Weekly; Fall Lines; Shrimp, Collards & Grits magazine; and the Conroy Center’s Porch Talk blog. He is coeditor with Nicole Seitz of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.

Harrison Scott Key is the author of two memoirs. His first, The World’s Largest Man, a true story about what it’s like to be related to insane people from Mississippi, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. His second was, Congratulations, Who Are You Again?, a true story about how his American Dream to do something creative and meaningful with his life nearly obliterated every meaningful thing in his life. Harrison’s humor and nonfiction have appeared in many publications including, The Best American Travel Writing, Oxford American, Outside, The New York Times, and Savannah Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction and a Ph.D. in playwriting and teaches writing at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children. www.harrisonscottkey.com

Miho Kinnas is a Japanese-born writer and translator, and the author of the poetry collection Today, Fish Only. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. Miho conducts haiku workshops at many locations including Shanghai International Literary Festival, Pat Conroy Literary Center, local libraries, and schools. She holds an M.F.A. from City University of Hong Kong. She and her husband live on Hilton Head Island.

John Lane, a professor of English and environmental studies at Wofford College and the author of numerous books of essays and poetry. He is the author of Waist Deep in Black Water, Chattooga, and Circling Home. His poetry collection includes, Abandoned Quarry and Anthropocene Blues. Neighborhood Hawks is Lane’s latest work, documenting the lives of hawks and contemplating the relationship between animals and humans when they live in such close proximity. He lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

A native of Edgefield, South Carolina, J. Drew Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature; which has received many awards. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram’s Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home. The National Audubon Society honored J. Drew Lanham with the Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership for his tireless advocacy to protect birds and build a new generation of conservation leaders. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Tanner Latham is an award-winning radio producer, travel writer, and multimedia storyteller. After growing up in a small town in Alabama, Tanner spent more than 10 years traveling throughout and reporting about the South as a Travel Editor for Southern Living magazine. While on staff as the multimedia reporter at NPR affiliate WFAE 90.7 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tanner won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award. He has been a professional writer for 20 years and a storyteller since he could speak. He authored the bestselling celebrity cookbook Country Music’s Greatest Eats, and his stories have appeared in national publications. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Jennifer Davick, a food photographer and director. Together they founded Ingredient, a creative services studio for food and hospitality brands. www.tannerlatham.com

David Lauderdale is an award-winning columnist and senior editor for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. David’s columns and editorials about Lowcountry life are “must reads” for local citizens. He is also a contributing writer to the anthologies State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love and Our Prince of Scribes. David’s coverage of the environment, mental health, the Gullah culture, literacy and local history have been greatly lauded and he himself has been honored locally with the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

Caroline McIntyre is a former history teacher, theater manager, and corporate presenter with a Masters in American History. She recreates the roles of three of her heroes – Frances Perkins, Rachel Carson, and Mary Draper Ingles. She weaves the stories of these heroic women and, in Chautauqua fashion, inspires the audience to ask questions directly to the characters.

USC Beaufort writer in residence and professor of English Ellen Malphrus is the author of the novel Untying the Moon and also a contributor to Our Prince of Scribes. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William and Mary Review, Georgia Poetry Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and the anthology Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry. She is deputy director of the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival. www.ellenmalphrus.com

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. Her newest book is The Summer Guests. She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ literary hall of fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. www.MaryAliceMonroe.com

Sally R. Murphy’s Turning the Tide chronicles the creation of South Carolina’s sea turtle program, the evolution of the International Sea Turtle Society and the ACE Basin, and documents the decades-long battle for use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to protect sea turtles. Filled with stories, both funny and sad, Turning the Tide describes one woman’s triumphs, both personal and professional, against tough odds. She was hired by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 1973 as their first Environmental Education Specialist. She worked for 30 years as a wildlife biologist in the SCDNR. Murphy lives on the edge of the Ace Basin near Sheldon, South Carolina.

Delia Owens is the author of Where the Crawdads Sing, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 10 months and #1 on the list for the past 5 months. She is also the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa, including Cry of the Kalahari. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and many others. She lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing, a mystery and love story about the coming of age of a young girl living in the marshes of North Carolina, is her first novel. www.deliaowens.com

Jon Pineda is the author of the novels Let’s No One Get Hurt and Apology. His memoir Sleep in Me was a 2010 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. He is also the author of three poetry collections: Little Anodynes, winner of the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award, The Translator’s Diary, winner of the 2007 Green Rose Prize, and Birthmark, winner of the 2003 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition.  Pineda lives in Virginia and teaches at the College of William and Mary, where he is director of the creative writing program.  www.jonpineda.com

Janisse Ray is a writer, activist, and naturalist who has authored five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of eco-poetry. She was a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana and two honorary doctorates. She was the Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University during spring 2018. Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, recounts her experiences growing up in a junkyard, the daughter of a poor, white, fundamentalist Christian family. The book interweaves family history and memoir with natural history writing. The book won the American Book Award, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Southern Environmental Law Center Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern environment. Janisse lives in southern Georgia.

Dana Ridenour is an award-winning author and retired FBI Special Agent. During her twenty-year career she was assigned to four different FBI Field Divisions and had the opportunity to work a wide variety of cases to include multi-faceted narcotics investigations, domestic sex trafficking of minors, and violent crime. She spent most of her career as an FBI undercover operative. Dana’s first novel, Behind the Mask, won numerous literary awards and was named one of the Best Indie Books of 2016. Her second novel, Beyond the Cabin received the 2018 Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Thriller or Suspense Novel. Ridenour latest book, Below the Radar is scheduled for release on August 13, 2019. www.Danaridenour.net