What: Book Launch for Sheridan Hough’s acclaimed debut novel Mirror’s Fathom
Where: Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street Charleston, SC 29401
When: Thursday, November 8th 6PM – 8PM. Talk followed by book signing and reception. Admission is Free.
Mirror’s Fathom is the story of Tycho Wilhelm Lund—anarchist, pirate, and thief of a legendary mirror. Tycho a great-nephew of Søren Kierkegaard is asked to appraise the furniture once belonging to Regine Schlegel, Kierkegaard’s jilted love. Tycho, falls in love with Countess Juliana Sophie, the self-appointed mistress of the “School for Selves” a group devoted to the study of Kierkegaard’s writing. Their marriage, is approved with one condition—Tycho must first go to London to retrieve a family heirloom, a 6-foot-tall silver-framed mirror.
Praise for Mirror’s Fathom
“Mirror’s Fathom is dazzlingly multifaceted. Read this novel for its perfectly framed plot of love, loss, and mystery. Read this novel for its fully fleshed characters. Read this novel for its philosophical questions on what it means to be a true individual entangled in geography and time. Read this novel for its poetry. By God, just read it!” Ron Cooper author of Purple Jesus and Hume’s Fork
“Sheridan Hough has written an elegant, beguiling, moving and extremely intelligent book with Mirror¹s Fathom. Part mystery and part love story, part history and part philosophy, this is a compelling and rewarding read.” Brett Lott – author of Jewel and The Hunt Club
For information, review copies of interviews with Ms. Hough contact Peter & Marjory Wentworth
(843) 994-1946, Petetwentworth@gmail.com
South Carolina was recently represented at the National Book Festival in Washington DC by Dr. Curtis R. Rogers, SC Center for the Book Coordinator, and Sandy Knowles, Director of the State Library’s Talking Book Services (not pictured). It is estimated the SC table had over 1,300 visitors. The SC Center for the Book was promoting the book, Virals, by Kathy Reichs. L-R: DC Junior League volunteer, Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director, and Rogers.
The South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) announces its second annual $1000 fellowship in fiction. Entries may be previously unpublished short stories or excerpts from unpublished longer works and must be no longer than 15 pages. There are no restrictions on content; however, applicants must be full-time South Carolina residents and may submit only one story or excerpt. The Fellowship winner will be invited to SCAA induction ceremony in Columbia in April, 2013.
The entry deadline is December 1, 2012. Submissions must be typed on 8.5 x 11 paper, and the author’s name must not appear on the manuscript. Entrants should send two hard copies of story/chapter with separate cover sheet specifying the author’s name, contact information and submission title, plus $15 submission fee payable to SCAA.
Applicants should send submissions and application fees to Jon Tuttle, Department of English, Francis Marion University, PO Box 100547, Florence SC 29502. Contact Jon Tuttle for more information at Jtuttle@fmarion.edu.
Mary Robison, this year’s Fellowship judge, has been widely hailed for her biting depictions of contemporary American life since her story “Sisters” was published in The New Yorker in 1977. Since then, her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, GQ, Harvard Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction, The Pushcart Prize and The O.Henry Prize Stories and complied in four collections. Her novel Why Did I Ever won the Los Angeles Times Book prize for Fiction, and One D.O.A., One on the Way was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the “100 Most Notable Books of the Year” and by Oprah Winfrey for her Summer Reading list in 2009. Robison has received numerous awards, including a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2009 the prestigious Rea Award For The Short Story. She has worked also as a screenwriter and script doctor for various film makers and teaches now at the University of Florida.
For more information about the South Carolina Academy of Authors, please visit www.scacademyofauthors.org.
The South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) announces its annual $1000 fellowship in poetry.
Applicants must be full-time South Carolina residents and all entries must be typed or computer printed on 8 ½ X 11 paper. There is no restriction to form or content. Postmark deadline is December 1, 2012. Manuscripts will not be returned.
To apply, send two paper copies of manuscript with separate cover sheet. Each manuscript must consist of 6-10 pages of unpublished poems, with no more than one poem per page. The poet’s name must not appear on any of the manuscript pages. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept electronic submissions. Each cover sheet must contain the poet’s name and contact information (USPS mailing address, email address, phone number) and titles of poems. Each submission must include a $15.00 entry fee, payable to South Carolina Academy of Authors.
Send submissions to: Elizabeth Bernardin, 407 Meeting Street, Georgetown, SC 29440. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fellowship winner will be notified by email or telephone and will be invited to the SCAA induction ceremony in Columbia in April, 2013. SCAA Board Members are not eligible to apply.
The judge for the 2012 Nickens Fellowship Competition is Nick Lantz. Lantz is the author of the poetry collections We Don’t Know We Don’t Know (Graywolf Press, 2010) and The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors’ House (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). He is the recipient of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, the Felix Pollak Prize, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and the Larry Levis Reading Prize. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and on the nationally syndicated radio program The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. He teaches creative writing at Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop, Queens University’s Low-Residency MFA, and at Sam Houston State University, where he is the poetry editor of the Texas Review.
For more information about the South Carolina Academy of Authors, please visit www.scacademyofauthors.org.
Students can revisit their most powerful literary experiences through a contest that asks them to write a personal letter to an author and explain how his or her work changed their perspective on the world.
The national Letters About Literature competition is open to students in grades 4 through 10, and submissions are being accepted until January 11, 2013 (postmark). The annual competition is sponsored by the South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book and the South Carolina State Library Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress Center for the Book.
To enter, readers write a letter to an author, past or present, describing how that author’s work made an impact on their life. Contestants are cautioned not to summarize the book’s plot, but to express in an honest, conversational tone, how the book affected them.
The contest, which focuses on reader response and reflective writing, has three competition levels: Level 1 for students in grades 4-6; Level 2 for students in grades 7 and 8; and Level 3 for students in grades 9-10. State winners, announced in March each year, receive cash awards. National winners, announce in late April, receive additional prizes and earn for their school or community library LAL Reading Promotion Grants valued at thousands of dollars!
LAL focuses on reader response and reflective writing. Free teaching materials, including lesson plans, writing samples, assessment checklists, and teacher tips at the LAL web site.
To download the official entry guidelines and entry form, visit http://lettersaboutliterature.org.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to launch the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five outstanding high school poets whose work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise will be selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors.
National Student Poets will be chosen from among the national medalists in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by a jury of literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts. Student Poets will receive college scholarships and opportunities to present their work at writing and poetry events, and will be featured at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, in cooperation with the Library of Congress. Awards will be presented in September 2012.
You can also download the NSPP postcard.
By Jackie Mohan
In addition to the remaining four author readings hosted by the SC Center for the Book, Hub City Press, and the University of South Carolina Press, as well as the Experience SC Festival, featured in an earlier blog post, there are several other literary events across South Carolina in the coming months. Below is a listing of just a few:
Thursday, August 23 – At 6:00pm at the Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, Jon Buchan will do a reading and signing of his new book Code of the Forest, a legal and political thriller. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org/writersproject.
Thursday, August 23 – At 5:30pm at the Johnsonville Library in Johnsonville, Sherman Carmichael will discuss his book Legends and Lore of South Carolina, a creative collection of eighty quirky and historical South Carolina legends. For more information, visit www.historypress.net.
August 15-26 – The Collaborative Arts Theater will be hosting the Charlotte Shakespeare Festival featuring performances of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at the McGlohon Theater in the Spirit Square. For daily show times and more information, visit www.charlotteshakespeare.com.
Tuesday, August 28 – At 5:00pm at the Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, Josephine Hicks will do a reading and signing of her book If There’s Anything I Can Do, a practical yet heartfelt guide on how to help someone (or be helped) going through a serious illness. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org/writersproject.
Tuesday, September 4 – Hub City Bookshop will host Writer’s Night Out: A community of writers from 6:00-8:00pm as part of their ongoing writers’ group that aims to form a strong community of writers. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org/writersproject.
Monday, September 10 – At 6:00pm at the Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, John Lane will do a reading and signing of Begin with Rock, End with Water, a collection of essays musing on humans’ place in the natural world. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org/writersproject.
Monday, October 1 – At 5:00pm at the Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, Thomas Kennedy will do a reading of his novel In the Company of Angels, a story centered on two people overcoming physical abuse. After the reading, Kennedy will lead a fiction workshop at 7:00pm called “The Five Sense of Fiction.” The workshop is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org/writersproject.
Saturday, October 6 – At 1:00pm at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Karen Stokes will discuss her new book South Carolina Civilians in Sherman’s Path: Stories of Courage amid Civil War Destruction, a collection of civilians’ stories corroborated by officers’ and soldiers’ testimonies. For more information, visit www.historypress.net.
The Old Town Association, Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC, Brown & Brown Marketing and Dyer Hart Productions are pleased to announce a brand new and exciting festival to be held in Old Town, Rock Hill. Experience South Carolina Fest will take place on Saturday, September 1, 2012 from 4:00pm-9:30pm along Main Street in Rock Hill.
The festival will feature a Literary Corner to showcase some of South Carolina’s own authors. We invite you to join us at The Literary Corner which will be one of the highlights of Experience South Carolina. We are inviting South Carolina authors and others who have written about South Carolina to join us! Confirmed authors are Jon Buchan, Jeryl Christmas, Tom Elmore, Ginetta Hamilton, Goffinet McLaren, Dorothy St. James, Magan Thomas and Joggling Board Press.
Experience South Carolina Fest will excite the senses & highlight the rich diversity of the music, food, people and the culture of South Carolina. The festival will come alive with the sounds of South Carolina from the Beach Music that will evoke a summer night’s shagging at the beach to R&B representing the region as well as Gospel music. Confirmed entertainment at the festival will include Plair, Frontline and Freedom Temple Gospel Choir.
In addition, you can enjoy the tastes of South Carolina’s regional cuisine representing key areas of the State. Fried fish, barbecue, fried chicken and turkey, sausage gumbo, po’ boy sandwiches, corn bread, peach cobbler, red velvet cake and assorted other Southern specialties are all on the menu along with South Carolina Craft Beers, and Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.
The Old Town Market will be an area at the festival where local farmers will sell their produce and local artisans will be selling their handmade art & crafts.
Michael Smalls from Hilton Head Island will be creating and selling Gullah Sweetgrass baskets and Ernest Lee, one of Columbia’s most prominent artists, will be displaying and selling his Chicken Man paintings.
Participants will appreciate all the best South Carolina has to offer at the South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions booth at the festival.
And of course there will be plenty of activities for children a Kidz Zone with inflatables.
The festival is free to the public and everyone can feel a part of the lively festival celebrating South Carolina in the beautiful “Old Town District” of Rock Hill.
Experience South Carolina is planned to coincide with the start of the 2012 Democratic National Convention when people will be in the area from all over the Country. We will be welcoming them to South Carolina and celebrating the best the State has to offer.
The event is being produced by Dyer Hart Productions, Bonnie Wallsh Associates LLC and Brown & Brown Marketing (all local promoters) in partnership with The Old Town Association. Linda Dyer Hart is a resident of Tega Cay, SC, Carlondo Brown is a Rock Hill resident and Bonnie Wallsh is a resident of Charlotte. Contact: Linda Dyer Hart at 803-802-1678 or email@example.com.
By Ryan Lowery“ The war is making us all tenderly sentimental. No casualties yet, no real mourning, nobody hurt. So it is all parade, fife, and fine feathers. Posing we are en grande tenue. There is no imagination here to forestall woe, and only the excitement and wild awakening from every-day stagnant life are felt. That is, when one gets away from the two or three sensible men who are still left in the world.”
- Mary Boykin Chesnut
When South Carolina is brought up in discussion, it does not take long before someone brings up secession and the American civil war. Regardless of your stance on the event, it is impossible to deny that it is a a part of the history of the state, and it could easily be argued that no event has had a greater effect on South Carolina. Not only did the war start at Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor, but it brought about the freeing of slaves, the burning of Columbia, and even modern issues such as the controversy of the Confederate battle flag on the state house grounds. The effects of the American civil war have had such a long-lasting influence on the state, including its literature. I discussed the account of the burning of Columbia by William Gilmore Simms recently, but I felt it to be irresponsible of me to not mention the diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut.
Born in 1823 in Stateburg, South Carolina, Chesnut was the daughter of a U.S. representative that would go on to be the governor of South Carolina and eventually a U.S. senator. Her family relocated to Charleston when she was young, and it was here that she received and excellent education. Her family would move to Mississippi, but Chesnut stayed behind in Charleston to continue school, occasionally visiting when she had breaks. She would go on to marry a lawyer and politician from Charleston that would go on to be a high ranking official in the Confederacy.
The importance of diaries in understanding history is immeasurable. The one that first comes to mind is the diary of Anne Frank. It gave the world insight into her family’s plight in Nazi-controlled Europe. It showed the grueling life of those living in fear of the fascist regime. The world became enamored by the words written in a young girl’s diary. Chesnut’s diary should be viewed with the same respect. While the situations are fairly different, it is impossible to overstate the importance of A Diary from Dixie. Mary Chesnut was witness to events in Richmond and the the happenings of the Provisional Congress of the C.S.A, the movements of generals and their armies, and the ups and downs of the Confederacy during the war.
Most importantly, A Diary from Dixie reveals the life of women during the 1860s. The book allows the reader to glimpse into the mind of Mary Chesnut, revealing her internal battles over the issue of slavery and her thoughts on the role of women in that society. It really is a window through time, revealing the facts of her everyday life.
Reading through Mary Chesnut’s diary is a journey filled with information, tales of battles, stories of relationships with slaves, and the inner thoughts of an incredible woman.While she may not be as literarily gifted as many wordsmiths, her diary is no less important in understand the goings on of the South in the 19th century.
By Ryan Lowery
Since being established in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize has annually awarded those that have achieved excellence in literature, composing music, and journalism. Numerous entrants await the winning selections each April, but only a few are lucky enough to receive the prize. One such person was Julia Peterkin of South Carolina.
Born in 1880, Peterkin spent her early life in Laurens county. She graduated from Spartanburg’s Converse College in 1896 and was soon married to the owner of a plantation near Fort Motte, South Carolina. It is at the plantation that Peterkin’s writing begins to take shape. Watching life on the plantation inspired many short stories and would eventually serve to inspire her Pulitzer Prize winning novel Scarlet Sister Mary.
The novel take places in the Gullah culture of South Carolina’s lowcountry. Peterkin presents what was viewed at the time as a sympathetic view towards African-American culture. It as much a novel about African-American culture as it is a novel about the female identity in southern culture. It tells the story of a girl named Mary and her dealings with the surrounding community. Mary grows up, falls in love, suffers loss, and changes her life for what she sees as better. It essentially follows the typical coming-of-age formula. What is most interesting, however, is Mary’s changing ideas on who she should be. At the start of the tale, Mary is seen as a wholesome, church-going girl. A series of events soon occur that change her for the worse. She begins to live her life wallowing in sin, viewed negatively by the rest of the community. Towards the end of the novel, however, she realizes the mistakes she has made and begs for forgiveness, seemingly cleansing herself of her sins.
Scarlet Sister Mary was taken to Broadway in 1930, but it was two years before that Peterkin received her Pulitzer Prize. The award was surrounded by controversy, however. The book had been viewed by many as obscene, even being banned at a public library. More controversy came about during the selection of Peterkin’s book for Pulitzer glory. It came to light that Scarlet Sister Mary was not the selection for the prize by the chairperson of the Pulitzer committee. Apparently, he had selected another novel, but the rest of the jury overruled him and gave the award to Peterkin.
Despite the glory that many achieve when receiving the prestigious award, Peterkin has been reduced to obscurity for the most part. She deserves praise, however, for her portrayal of Mary in her award winning novel. The despair and depression of the character is made evident in her darkest times through Peterkin’s prose. Despite the controversy surrounding Scarlet Sister Mary and its selection as a Pulitzer Prize winner, the simple fact that it was even considered should hint that Peterkin was of great literary skill. The book, though sometimes difficult to read due to the manner in which the characters speak and their colloquialisms, it is worth the read to check out the words of one of South Carolina’s greats.
Biographical info found in “Julia Peterkin’s Scarlet Sister Mary: Breath, Birth, Boundaries” by Priscilla Leder
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