Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island hosts author panel honoring Pat Conroy

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — The Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island, or WAHHI, hosted an author panel discussion from the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Nearly 300 hundred people attended the panel honoring Conroy, a distinguished author from Beaufort, known for his novels “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini.” WSAV’s own Tina Tyus-Shaw moderated the event.

The brunch was held at the Sonesta Resort & Spa at Shipyard Plantation.

Organizers said they hosted the event as a celebration of the craft of writing. Authors Cassandra King, Ellen Malphrus and Jonathan Haupt spoke on the panel. Local authors also attended to sign their books.

Best-selling novelist and honorary chair of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, Cassandra King Conroy, spoke about her book “Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy.” It was released at the fourth annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival.

Executive Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center Jonathan Haupt spoke about “Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy” that he co-edited with novelist and artist Nicole Seitz.

“Our Prince of Scribes is the effort of 67 different writers who knew Pat at different points over roughly a 50-year career,” Haupt said. “And what we have in common is that we were all writers who were supported by Pat at one point or another, which is not something a writer has to do.”

“You don’t have to reach back and bring other people along,” he added. “But Pat who had been a teacher early in his career continued to be a teacher in a big sense of that word over the 50-year arch of his life. And we all go to experience that. What a wonderful thing for us to share with readers now who can get something special out of that too.”

Malphrus, a Lowcountry native, answered questions about her book Untying the Moon and her contributions to “Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.”

“Untying the moon is set in the Lowcountry,” Deputy Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Festival Malphrus said. “So I think folks who are from this area or are interested in this area would enjoy the river and life in and on and around the river.”

Attendees also brought cookies to donate as part of WAHHI’s Annual Cookie Collection for First Responders. The cookies will be distributed to the Hilton Head Sheriff’s Department, the Hilton Head Fire Department, the Bluffton Police Department, and the Bluffton Fire Department.

“We just want to show that we appreciate what they do for us,” WAHHI member Pat Hirsch said. “I have a son-in-law who is a fireman. And I realize how hard they work and how grateful we are for their service.”

“The police and the fireman are supporting our community, we’re very fortunate,” she added. “We’ve lived all over the United States and we’ve never seen the fireman and police do such a good job as they do here.”

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