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Join us for the Fall Literary Festival 2020

This year’s festival begins Oct. 14.

Three authors. Three nights. All free.

Great writers, readers, fans and friends will gather on three Wednesday nights this October for the Fall Literary Festival at the University of South Carolina. Now in its twenty-first year, the festival continues to bring unique and inspiring writing voices to campus.

This year, the festival welcomes the celebrated poet Nikky Finney, children’s book author and artist Kelly Starling Lyons, and novelist and short story writer George Singleton. They are part of a tradition that has brought more than 60 award-winning authors to campus for readings, book signings and other events – all free and open to the community.

The festival is a partnership between University Libraries and the Department of English, supported by the generous legacy of Libraries’ friend Dorothy B. Smith. Mrs. Smith was a lifelong book lover who wanted to share her passion with others. The festival is just one of many university programs she and her family make possible.

This year, for the first time, the festival goes virtual.

“We are really pleased to be able to give more people the opportunity to connect with these authors and their work in a new way,” said James Barilla, associate professor in the UofSC Department of English Language and Literature and a festival organizer. “These outstanding writers will read from their work and talk with the audience. Registration is required, but anyone can attend, no matter where they happen to be.”

The festival events begin at 7 p.m. on three consecutive Wednesdays in October.

Finney will read October 14.

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. African American history, the history of America, as well as topics in Popular Culture, Gender and Sexuality, Art, Race and Social Justice are at the core of her work. She is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World Is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her fifth collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released in April 2020. That same month, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Finney holds the John H. Bennett Jr. Endowed Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina.

Lyons will read October 21.

Kelly Starling Lyons is an award-winning children's book author, a teaching artist, and a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf. Her titles span early readers, chapter books and picture books, nonfiction and fiction. They include the Jada Jones series, Tiara's Hat ParadeDream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip FreelonSing a Song: How "Lift Every Voice & Sing" Inspired Generations, and Going Down Home with Daddy. She counts starred reviews, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selections, National Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies and Scholastic Reading Club picks among the accolades her books have received. Her mission is to create books that center Black heroes; celebrate family, friendship, and heritage; and show all children the storyteller they hold inside.

Singleton will read October 28.

George Singleton has published nine collections of stories, two novels, and a book of writing advice. More than 200 of his short stories have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Georgia Review, Story, Southern Review, Agni, Zoetrope and elsewhere. He has published non-fiction in Garden and Gun, Oxford American, Bark and Best Food Writing 2005. His work has been anthologized ten times in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. He has received a Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Hillsdale Award, and the Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Raised in Greenwood, S.C., he received a BA in philosophy from Furman University, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro.

The events are free and open to everyone. Registration is required.


Where to purchase books by:

Nikky Finney – Oct 14


Kelly Starling Lyons – Oct 21


George Singleton – Oct 28

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.