Arts and Culture

Shani Gilchrist



3 S.C. literary events to visit every year

Posted 1/27/2014 1:42:00 PM

Some of us will do anything to be in the same room with big, imaginative minds that conjure up the kinds of stories that keep us wondering how on earth someone can make such stuff up. Spring is prime time to catch your favorite Southern storyteller at one of these three cool events in the Palmetto State.

Clemson Literary Festival: Since 2007, Clemson University has been host to a literary gathering that attracts some serious heavy hitters for a newer event. This year’s lineup includes U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to Tigertown along with 16 other authors for readings, panels, book signings and more.

A notable feature about the March event is that it spreads out from the university’s beautiful campus into the local businesses of the small town it occupies. Bibliophiles listen to their favorite authors read in the local eateries and watering holes that give Clemson the unique flavors that keep alumni obsessed.

S.C. Book Festival: May in Columbia means The Vista is suddenly filled to the brim with bibliophiles, authors and independent booksellers looking for a place to chat and eat. The South Carolina Book Festival is known by readers and authors alike to be one of the friendliest book events in the country.

Authors clamor for panelist positions and the happy energy spreads through the crowd each year. Past participants have included Pat Conroy, Roy Blount Jr., Nikky Finney (before she moved back to her hometown of Columbia), Dorothea Benton Frank, Karen White and many more. This year will surely be worth a trip to hear authors tell stories behind their craft, get a few autographs, and find some new titles to take home.

Piccolo Spoleto Poetry Series: Each year, Spoleto Festival USA’s fun, bohemian little sister, Piccolo Spoleto, presents literary delights at little or no cost for entry during the same June fortnight as the bigger festival.

The Poetry Society of South Carolina hosts Charleston Poetry Walk — strolls through downtown Charleston’s poetic history that offer glimpses into the lives and words of noted national and regional poets who have close ties to the Lowcountry.