2021 Festival 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

Cinelle Barnes

Cinelle Barnes is a memoirist, essayist, and educator from Manila, Philippines, and is the author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir and Malaya: Essays on Freedom, and the editor of A Measure of Belonging: 21 Writers of Color on the New American South. Her work has appeared or been featured in the New York Times, Longreads, Garden & Gun, Electric Literature, Buzzfeed, Catapult, Literary Hub, and CNN Philippines, and has received support from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund, the Focus Fellowship, and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. She’s a contributing editor at Catapult. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina. www.cinellebarnes.com

Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a non-binary writer, podcast host, and educator. They are the author of the novel Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County and the poetry chapbooks Glitter Husk and Buggery. They serve as poetry editor of Emrys Journal and write book reviews for Free State Review. They are the recipient of the KAKALAK Poetry Award, Broad River Prize for Prose, BOOM Chapbook Prize, and Susan Meyers Summer Scholarship. They serve on the board of the Free Verse Poetry Festival and Poetry Society of South Carolina. They are the host of the creative writing podcast Contribute Your Verse, Their work has recently appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, ANMLY, beestung, Raleigh Review, Taco Bell Quarterly, and elsewhere. They work as a museum educator in Aiken, South Carolina. https://derekberrywriter.com (Photo credit: Iva Reed-Manes)

Robert Olen Butler

Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of eighteen previous novels, including Hell, A Small Hotel, and Perfume River. His newest novel, Late City, is forthcoming in September 2021. He is also the author of six short story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University. www.robertolenbutler.com

Patti Callahan (Henry)

Patti Callahan is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Globe and Mail bestselling novelist of fifteen novels, including Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah, out now, and Once Upon a Wardrobe, forthcoming in October 2021. A recipient of the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year, the Christy Book of the Year, and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year, Patti is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series and podcast Friends & Fiction. www.patticallahanhenry.com (Photo credit: Bud Johnson Photography, Savannah, GA)

Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. He’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence. His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, will be available in September 2021. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters.

Published in October 2017, Cash’s novel The Last Ballad was an American Library Association Book of the Year and a Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017. The novel received the Southern Book Prize, the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, the Weatherford Award, and the Bloodroot Mountain Prize. His second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was a national bestseller and received the Crime Writers Association’s Novel of the Year in the United Kingdom. It was a finalist for both the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Southern Book Prize. Cash’s debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, won the Thomas Wolfe Book Prize, the Maine Reader’s Choice Award, the Southern Book Prize, the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year, the Crime Writers Association’s Debut of the Year in the UK. The novel was a finalist for the American Bookseller Association’s Debut of the Year and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Cash has received the Pat Conroy Legacy Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Alliance, the Mary Frances Hobson Prize from Chowan University, and the Appalachian Heritage Prize from Shepherd University. www.wileycash.com (Photo credit: Mallory Cash)

Rosemary Daniell

Bio coming soon

Anjali Enjeti

Anjali Enjeti is a former attorney, organizer, and award-winning journalist based near Atlanta. She is the author of Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change, and the debut novel, The Parted Earth. Her writing about politics, social justice, and books has appeared in USA Today, Harper’s BAZAAR, Courier Newsroom, Mic, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Publisher’s Weekly, ZORA, and elsewhere. Since 2017, she has been working to get out the vote in Georgia’s AAPI community. In 2019, she co-founded the Georgia chapter of They See Blue, an organization for South Asian Democrats. In the fall of 2020, she served on the Georgia AAPI Leadership Council for the Biden Harris campaign. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle, she is the recipient of awards from the South Asian Journalists Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as residencies from the Hambidge Center, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and Wildacres. She was also nominated to Good Morning America’s 2021 Asian American and Pacific Islander Inspiration List. A graduate of Duke University, Washington University School of Law, and the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, she teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Reinhardt University. https://anjalienjeti.com

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans is the publisher and editor of Lowcountry Weekly, where she has been penning her award–winning column, Rants & Raves, for over 20 years. She and her husband Jeff also publish The Island News, where she dabbles in reporting. Margaret’s essays have appeared in various Southern anthologies – including State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love and Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy – and she’s a regular contributor to Southbound magazine. She is the former editor of Beaufort Magazine and former editorial assistant to Pat Conroy. Margaret loves her family, her cats, her church choir, her book club, her wine, and her backyard songbirds – not necessarily in that order. https://lcweekly.com/

Andrew Feiler

Andrew Feiler is a fifth-generation Georgian. Having grown up Jewish in Savannah, he has been shaped by the rich complexities of the American South. Andrew’s newest book of photography, A Better Life for Their Children: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools that Changed America, has just been published by the University of Georgia Press. This work is the first comprehensive photodocumentary of the program created by Tuskegee Institute principal Booker T. Washington and Sears, Roebuck & Company president Julius Rosenwald.

Andrew’s Rosenwald school images have received a number of early honors. Photolucida named them a 2020 Top 50 portfolio and Photoville selected them for The Fence, an outdoor exhibition displayed internationally in eleven cities. They were also part of the Currents 2020 exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. The solo exhibition of this work will premiere at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta in May 2021.

Andrew’s earlier book, Without Regard to Sex, Race, or Color, was also published by the University of Georgia Press. His photographs have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, Slate, Lenscratch, Oxford American, The Bitter Southerner, numerous other magazines and newspapers, and on NPR. His work has been displayed in galleries and museums including solo exhibitions at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Octagon Museum (American Institute of Architects) in Washington, D.C., International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC, Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum in Savannah, Burrison Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Southeast Center for Photography in Greenville, SC, and City Gallery in Charleston, SC. His work is in public and private collections including that of Atlanta University Center and Emory University. www.andrewfeiler.com

Judy Goldman

Judy Goldman is the author of seven books – three memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry. Her new memoir, Child, will be published May 2022. Her book Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap (published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine and received a starred review from Library Journal. Her first memoir, Losing My Sister, was a finalist for both SIBA’s Memoir of the Year and ForeWord Review’s Memoir of the year. She received the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award and the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, as well as the three prizes awarded for a poetry book by a North Carolinian and Silverfish Review Press’s Gerald Cable Prize. She received the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” the Irene Blair Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award from Central Piedmont Community College, and the Beverly D. Clark Author Award from Queens University. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Washington Post, USA Today, Charlotte Observer, Real Simple, LitHub, and elsewhere. She lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband. They have two married children and four grandchildren. www.judygoldman.com

Gervais Haggerty

Author of the debut novel In Polite Company, Gervais Hagerty grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned her B.A. in psychology from Vanderbilt University. After a post-college stint in Southern California, she returned to the east coast, where she worked as a news reporter and producer for both radio and television broadcasts. In 2013, she earned her M.B.A. from The Citadel, and soon after became a professor, where she taught Leadership Communications. As the director of Patricia McArver Public Speaking Lab, she coached students, faculty, and staff to become effective speakers. She also advised the college’s public speaking club. She is a board member of The Charleston Council for International Visitors and serves on Charleston’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. She lives in Charleston with her husband and daughters. https://gervaishagerty.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.

Ann-Chadwell Humphries

As a girl in rural Texas, Ann-Chadwell Humphries competed in poetry recitation. After retirement, she took community writing classes, then graduate classes in poetry. Muddy Ford Press selected Ann as the second in their Laureate series to publish her first book, An Eclipse and a Butcher. Ann was a finalist for Carrie McCray Nickens poetry fellowship, is a newly inducted member of SC Humanities Speaker’s Bureau, and is archiving her poetry papers at the University of South Carolina. Based in Columbia, Ann reads and writes using assistive technology. www.Ann-ChadwellHumphries.com

Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones is newly appointed as the Poet Laureate of Alabama–the youngest writer and first African American selected for this prestigious position. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press 2017), dark / / thing (Pleiades Press 2019), and REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press 2021). Her poetry has earned several awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lily Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020. Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, POETRY, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, she co-directs PEN Birmingham, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival. https://ashleymjonespoetry.com

Miho Kinnas

Miho Kinnas is a Japanese poet/translator living in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She is the author of two books of poetry: Today, Fish Only and Move Over Bird (Math Paper Press, 2014 and 2019). Her poems, translations and book reviews appeared in many journals including Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Literary Shanghai, Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha, The Museum of American Poetics and a Seattle-based Belltelist journal that nominated her poem “End” for the Pushcart Prize. She gave poetry workshops at Shanghai Literary Festival, Singapore Writers’ Festival, Pat Conroy Literary Center, Arnold Arboretum/Harvard Art Museum, and at local schools, among others.

Cassandra King

Cassandra King Conroy is a best-selling novelist whose fiction has won the hearts of readers everywhere, especially in the American South. The Same Sweet Girls was the national number one Booksense Selection, and spent several weeks on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Both The Sunday Wife and The Same Sweet Girls were nominated for Southern Independent Booksellers Association’s book of the year award. A fourth novel, Queen of Broken Hearts, set in King’s home state of Alabama became a Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club Selection as well as a SIBA bestseller. The fifth novel, Moonrise, was a SIBA Okra Pick and a Southern Booksellers bestseller, as was her book of non-fiction, The Same Sweet Girls Guide to Life. Her memoir, Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy, was released from William Morrow in October 2019 and won SIBA’s Southern Book Prize for nonfiction in 2020. She resides in Beaufort, where she is the honorary chair of the Pat Conroy Literary Center. www.cassandrakingconroy.com

Ellen Malphrus

Ellen Malphrus lives and writes beside the May River in her native South Carolina Lowcountry and beneath the mountains of western Montana. She studied under James Dickey and was also mentored by her beloved friend Pat Conroy. She is a professor of English and the writer-in-residence at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, as well as deputy director of the annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival. Her debut novel Untying the Moon was published by Pat Conroy’s Story River Books. Malphrus’s fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have appeared in publications including Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William & Mary Review, James Dickey Review, Haight Ashbury Review, Georgia Poetry Review, Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry, SCG Lifestyle Magazine, and Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. She is most at home in nature, and her concern for wild places and creatures, particularly when it comes to coastal conservation, is evident in the fabric of her writing. http://ellenmalphrus.com.

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. Most recently, the French translation (retitled Mama Red) was selected for the 2021 Prix Maya, an award given for France’s best animal novel. Bren also is a contributing essayist in Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. You can find Bren now with butt in chair, working on her next novel, which has already received acclaim, the gold medal for the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress. Bren hails from upstate South Carolina, Anderson, where her novel is set. www.brenmcclain.com.

E. Ethelbert Miller

Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry including The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his work. His newest collection is When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories: Poems, forthcoming in September 2021. For 17 years, Miller served as the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. His poetry has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Miller is a two-time Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Emory and Henry College and has taught at several universities.

Miller is host of the weekly WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV. In recent years, Miller has been inducted into the 2015 Washington DC Hall of Fame and awarded the 2016 AWP George Garret Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the 2016 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. In 2018, he was inducted into Gamma Xi Phi and appointed as an ambassador for the Authors Guild. He was awarded a 2020 grant by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. (Photo credit: Tom Wolff)

Yvette Murray

Yvette R. Murray received her B.A. in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been published in Fall Lines, The Petigru Review, Catfish Stew, Barzakh, Genesis Science Fiction magazine, forthcoming in Emrys Journal and Call and Response Journal. She is a 2020 Watering Hole Fellow and a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee. Presently, she is writing her first collection of poetry, more science fiction short stories and a children’s book series. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and a board member of the Poetry Society of South Carolina and the South Carolina Writer’s Association. Murray lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jennifer Daniels Neal

Jennifer Daniels Neal is an award-winning singer/songwriter, author, and teaching artist with the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She and her guitar-hero husband, Jeff Neal, have released nine music albums, a picture book, and two human children into the world (boy/girl twins, so…bonus!). The Locke Box is Jenn’s newly published debut novel. Jenn and her family live on Lookout Mountain in Georgia, where there are mountain lions, excellent bike trails, and a one-hundred-pound tongue inside of their black lab named Ziggy Marley. JenniferDaniels.com

Brian Panowich

Brian Panowich is a Georgia-based author who has topped the bestselling thriller list on Apple iBooks, was placed in the top twenty best books on Amazon, went on to win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Southern Book Prize for Best Mystery. He has also been nominated for the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, the Georgia Townsend Book Prize, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His first novel, Bull Mountain, was also selected for the coveted Books All Georgians Should Read list by the Georgia Center of the Book, and has been the recipient of several foreign press awards. Brian’s sophomore novel, Like Lions, earned him the Georgia Author of the Year Award for Best Mystery, and his latest, Hard Cash Valley was released in April 2020 to critical and commercial acclaim and was named one of the top 10 best crime novels of the year by the New York Times. Macmillan.com

Elizabeth Robin

Elizabeth Robin, retired high school teacher, has two collections through Finishing Line Press: Where Green Meets Blue (2018) and Silk Purses and Lemonade (2017); To My Dreamcatcher will be out in 2022. She is the 2021 winner of the Cary McCray Nickens Fellowship. Of her work in that competition judge Tiana Clark said: “I see a lunar lyricism reflected by this poet. The language is mystical, mythic, sublime, and romantic. The haunting imagery is fresh and allows for strangeness, devastation, and delight in a way that captures me as a reader.” As a poet of witness and discovery, Robin tells the stories of those pushed into margins. She will or did appear most recently in Ukweli, Poetry Society of South Carolina Yearbook 2021, COMET buses, Catfish Stew 2021, Drunk Monkeys, Ripples, The Broadkill Review, i am not a silent poet, and Blue Mountain Review. Robin emcees an open mic and literary programs on Hilton Head Island. www.elizabethrobin.com

Danielle Verwers

Poet Danielle Ann Verwers writes and teaches in Columbia, South Carolina. She also plays the didgeridoo (poorly) and collects library cards. She has studied at the University of Iowa, University of South Carolina, and Columbia College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Eastern Iowa Review, Petigru Review, Emrys and elsewhere. https://danielleverwers.com

Marjory Wentworth

Marjory Wentworth is the New York Times bestselling author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets (with Kwame Alexander and Chris Colderley). She is the co-writer of We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, with Herb Frazier and Dr. Bernard Powers, and Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, with Juan E. Mendez. She is co-editor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles. Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. Her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize seven times. She served as the poet laureate of South Carolina from 2003-2020. Wentworth is on the Board of Advisors at The Global Social Justice Practice Academy, and she is a 2020 National Coalition Against Censorship Free Speech is for Me Advocate. She teaches courses in writing, poetry, social justice and banned books at The College of Charleston. www.marjorywentworth.net

Estelle Ford-Williamson

Estelle Ford-Williamson is a novelist and memoirist whose most recent book, set in Rising Fawn, GA, has won awards from the Sandhills Writers Conference and the Atlanta Writers Conference. Her previous books were Abbeville Farewell: A Novel of Early Atlanta and North Georgia, and Seed of South Sudan: Memoir of a Lost Boy Refugee, written with Majok Marier. She has received Poets and Writers grants for readings and workshops in Atlanta and New York, and has presented memoir workshops through the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort, SC, as well as for the Lou Walker Senior Center in DeKalb County, GA. A short story drawn from Rising Fawn was a finalist for the Short Story America Festival in 2017. Born in Chattanooga, TN, Ford-Williamson graduated from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and worked as a reporter for UPI in Atlanta, where she later worked as a management trainer and career specialist before writing her first novel. She moved to the Beaufort SC area in 2016. www.estelleford-williamson.com