May 13, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Center Chooses All Around Town to Represent South Carolina at National Book Festival

The South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book has selected All Around Town, by Dinah Johnson, to represent South Carolina at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. The book is the state’s selection for the National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places Through Reading Map”. Each state selects one title of fiction or non-fiction, a book about the state or by an author from the state that is a good read for children or young adults. The map is distributed at the Pavilion of the States at the Festival and lists “Great Reads About Great Places”.

Johnson’s inaugural children’s book offers a rare view of life for African Americans living in Columbia, SC, during the 1920s and ’30s, through the photography of Richard Samuel Roberts. This self-taught photographer’s carefully composed shots capture the emotion behind his subjects’ often stoic facial expressions and reveal all the highlights of daily life: a bride and groom, a funeral procession, a baseball team and a family portrait, to name but a few.

Many of the photos are formal portraits of adults, either alone or in groups; child subjects ranging in age from infant to teenager will be particularly appealing to youngsters, especially one displaying a welcome touch of whimsy: a boy pictured with his arm around a tame rooster, which is incongruously perched on a chair indoors. The book’s unadorned, album-like design effectively sets off Roberts’s crisp, sepia-toned photographs, elegantly framed with simple line borders. Readers will likely be left with a feeling that they’ve visited a long-ago time that has much in common with their own. Ages 5-up. -Publishers Weekly

About the Author: Dr. Dianne “Dinah” Johnson received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in English, with concentrations in African American Studies and Creative Writing. She then received her Master’s Degree in African American Studies, and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She is currently a professor of English at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Johnson has written six picture books for children, and edited or co-edited various publications including: The Best of the Brownies’ Book (a compilation of fiction, poetry, photographs and more, from the 1920’s children’s magazine edited by W.E.B. Dubois and Jessie Fauset); the African American Review (a special issue devoted to black children’s authors and illustrators); and The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. She is also involved in the production of a documentary film called Beautiful by Design: The Story of African American Children’s Literature. For more information, please visit

The National Book Festival will be held in Washington DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday August 30, 2014. This year’s festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite poets and authors, get books signed, hear special entertainment, have photos taken with storybook characters and participate in a variety of activities. The Pavilion of the States will represent reading and library programs and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trusts and territories. Children attending the festival are given maps to take to each state’s table to have that state stamped to receive a prize. For more information, please visit

The South Carolina Center for the Book is the South Carolina Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is a cooperative project of the South Carolina State Library, the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science, and The Humanities CouncilSC. The Center is located at 1500 Senate Street, Columbia. For more information, please visit

May 12, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Speaker @ the Center to Host Conservationist Dana Beach

The South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book will host a book talk and signing on Thursday, May 22, from noon to 1:00 p.m. at 1500 Senate St., Columbia.

Published by USC Press, Deveaux is a reflection on the life of a South Carolina sea bird rookery, known as Deveaux Bank, at the mouth of the North Edisto River. The author and photographer, Dana Beach, has visited Deveaux regularly for twenty-five years. In his book, Beach chronicles the annual cycle of reproduction and renewal on this ephemeral sand bar, and the work of the scientists and conservationists who labor to understand and protect it. The book’s stories and images provide a compelling call to action to save Deveaux and sites like it—wellsprings of the Lowcountry’s natural beauty and diversity.

Dana Beach is the founder and executive director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. He is the recipient of the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the James L. Dockery Southern Environmental Leadership Award, the National Wetlands Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Law Institute, and the Environmental Awareness Award from the South Carolina General Assembly. Beach is author of Coastal Sprawl: The Effects of Urban Design on Aquatic Ecosystems in the United States, a research publication of the Pew Oceans Commission.

Books will be available for purchase and signing. All Speaker @ the Center programs take place from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the South Carolina State Library located at 1500 Senate St., Columbia. Speaker @ the Center is FREE and open to the public. Bring your lunch and enjoy learning more about South Carolina. Please visit for a list of additional book talks and signings.

The South Carolina Center for the Book is the South Carolina Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is a cooperative project of the South Carolina State Library, the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science, and The Humanities CouncilSC.

May 6, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Meet Author Christopher Paul Curtis at the South Carolina Book Festival

The South Carolina State Library is pleased to sponsor “An Afternoon with Christopher Paul Curtis” at this year’s South Carolina Book Festival.  Curtis made an outstanding debut in children’s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. His second novel,Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body Plant # 1. His job involved hanging car doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles—particularly big Buicks.

Curtis’s writing—and his dedication to it—has been greatly influenced by his family members. With grandfathers like Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 tells the story of 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan, and their unforgettable journey that leads them into one of the darkest moments in American history. It is by turns a hilarious, touching, and tragic story about civil rights and the impact of violence on one family.

Curtis’s novel Bud, Not Buddy focuses on 10-year-old Bud Caldwell, who hits the road in search of his father and his home. Times may be hard in 1936 Flint, Michigan, but orphaned Bud’s got a few things going for him; he believes his mother left a clue of who his father was—and nothing can stop Bud from trying to find him.

Join us for “An Afternoon with Christopher Paul Curtis” on Sunday, May 18, 2:40 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the Richland Room at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street in Columbia. Book festival events are free and open to the public.  For more information about the South Carolina Book Festival, please  For more information about Christopher Paul Curtis, please visit

Apr 23, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Center Announces 2013-2014 Letters About Literature Winners

The South Carolina Center for the Book is pleased to announce the nine winners in this year’s Letters About Literature contest. These outstanding students will be honored at the South Carolina State Library in Columbia at an award ceremony on April 30 at 10:30 a.m. Contest judges and South Carolina State Library Foundation members will be on hand to welcome attendees and present awards. Winners will read their letters and each will receive a monetary award from the South Carolina State Library Foundation ($100 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third).

The Letters About Literature program, sponsored by the South Carolina Center for the Book and the Library of Congress is a national reading and writing promotion contest. To enter, readers write personal letters to an author, living or dead, from any genre, explaining how that author’s work changed their way of thinking about the world or themselves.

2013-2014 Winners:

Level One – Elementary
First Place – Banks Mitchell, Atheneum/Vine & Branches Home Educators, Conway
Second Place – Kaleb Cintonz, SC Virtual Charter School, Inman
Third Place – Blair Josephs, Atheneum/Vine & Branches Home Educators, Conway

Level Two – Middle
First Place – Surya Korrapati, Meadow Glen Middle School, Lexington
Second Place – Elizabeth Clapp, Meadow Glen Middle School, Lexington
Third Place – Muayad Sarhan, Riverside Middle School, Greer

Level Three – High
First Place – Joshua P. Brandt, SC Virtual Charter School, Columbia
Second Place – Brooke Ashlyn Thomas, Pickens High School, Pickens
Third Place – Samantha Wagner, Pickens High School, Pickens

For more information, please contact Dr. Curtis R. Rogers at 803-734-8928 or

Apr 17, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Academy of Authors to Host 2014 Induction

The South Carolina Academy of Authors will honor writers Gilbert Allen, Janette Turner Hospital, John Lane and the late Robert Quillen on April 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Furman University’s Younts Conference Center in Greenville, S.C.

The academy, which is devoted to the identification, recognition and promotion of the state’s distinguished authors and emerging writers, annually honors writers in a weekend of literary events. The reception and induction ceremony includes recognition of the writers and their induction in the South Carolina Academy of Authors literary hall of fame. Tickets, $35 a person, are still available. For more information and full schedule of events, please visit

Janette Turner Hospital, a native of Queensland, Australia, is the Carolina Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches one course a year. Among her novels are Orpheus Lost, Due Preparations for the Plague and Oyster.Orpheus Lost was a finalist for the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Prize. Forecast: Turbulence, her most recent short-story collection, received the Steele Rudd Award for Best Collection of Short Stories in 2012.

Robert Quillen published the weekly newspaper The Fountain Inn Tribune from 1911 to 1948. The journalist and humorist was called “one of the leading purveyors of village nostalgia” thanks to his column, which was syndicated in 400 newspapers in the United States and Canada. He was the model for Will Rogers’ role in the feature film Life Begins at 40, about a small-town newspaper editor.

John Lane, a professor of English and Environmental Studies at Wofford College, is also director of the college’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center and a cofounder of The Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg. Begin with Rock, End with Water is his most recent essay collection. Abandoned Quarry: New and Selection Poems won the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2012 award for poetry.

Gilbert Allen, the Bennette E. Geer professor of literature at Furman University, is the author of six collections of poetry. His 2014 collection of poetry, Catma, was published by Measure Press. His work has been awarded the Robert Penn Warren Prize in Poetry fromThe Southern Review, and he has won the South Carolina Fiction Project prize five times.

The South Carolina Academy of Authors was founded at Anderson College in 1986. Its public recognition of the state’s literary talents serves to increase the general readership of authors working today and leads to the rediscovery of works from the past.

Those wishing to support the Academy, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, may make a donation as a supporter, $10-$75; a sustainer, $100-$250; a patron, $300-$500; a sponsor, $600-$800, or a partner, $1,000 or more. Checks to the S.C. Academy of Authors may be directed to unrestricted funding of the Academy’s projects or to the Memorial Endowment Fund and should be mailed to Tom Mack, Department of English, USC Aiken, 471 University Drive, Aiken, SC 29801.

For more information, please visit

Apr 4, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Annual Literacy Leaders Awards Call for 2014 Nominations

Do you know individuals or groups that have had a statewide impact on literacy? Nominate them for the South Carolina Annual Literacy Leader (ALL) awards for 2014.

The ALL awards are presented by the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina in the fall of each year to individuals and/or groups that have had a statewide impact on literacy in South Carolina.

Contributions may include the following activities:

• developing and implementing innovative and creative approaches to literacy education
• establishing models of best practices in literacy education
• providing service to under-served groups and communities
• providing funding and support for these kinds of programs
• making other statewide contributions deemed appropriate by the selection committee.

Recipients can be individuals, agencies, organizations or corporations with a local presence in South Carolina, regardless of their primary place of residence or corporate headquarters.

Additional awards will be presented this year in honor of South Carolina children’s author, Peggy Parrish. The Peggy Parrish Prize will provide two awards of $500 each. One will be awarded to a public librarian. The second will be awarded to a public school educator, which would include anyone employed by a public school. Successful recipients will demonstrate their impact through activities such as:

• implementing or expanding innovative programs or approaches to increase literacy in children
• encouraging a child’s love of reading through the involvement of a parent or caregiver
• establishing or expanding programs for under-served community groups to increase child literacy
• creating programs that successfully use Peggy Parish’s notion of an “open window” timeframe to encourage reading in children.

Nominations should take the form of a one-page letter summarizing the statewide impact of the nominee with respect to the award criteria. Nominations should be received no later than May 2, 2014.

Last year’s recipients were Helen Fellers, Coordinator of the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy and Reading Rooster, Jane Thomas, Greenville Literacy Association, and the Trident Literacy Association.

Please send nominations by email to Dr. Curtis R. Rogers, Chair of the ALL Nominations Committee at and Dr. Sam Hastings, USC SLIS Director or by mail to: Dr. S. K. Hastings, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Davis College, 1501 Greene St., Columbia, SC 29208

Click here for two page PDF information sheet.

Mar 26, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Book Review – The Revolution of Little Girls

By Kim Henderson, Center for the Book Intern

Summary: No matter how hard she tries, Ellen Burns will never be Scarlett O’Hara. As a little girl in South Carolina, she prefers playing Tarzan to playing Jane. As a teenage beauty queen she spikes her Cokes with spirits of ammonia and baffles her elders with her Freedom Riding sympathies. As a young woman in the 1960s and ’70s, she hypnotizes her way to Harvard, finds herself as a lesbian, then very nearly loses herself to booze and shamans. And though the wry, rebellious, and vision-haunted heroine of this exhilarating novel may sometimes seem to be living a magnolia-scented Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, Blanche McCrary Boyd’s The Revolution Of Little Girls is a completely original arid captivating work.

Review: The Revolution of Little Girls is an interesting adventure. It follows Ellen as she grows into herself and tries to understand the kind of person she is. The book has some issues with flow, depending on how you prefer to read. There is a brief run through Ellen’s life, from childhood to adulthood, and then it starts back over again. It is nice to see how Ellen’s life differs from childhood to adulthood. She is a fascinating person who deals with many common experiences. It can be pretty easy to relate to her. A person who prefers straight continuity in a character’s life might not enjoy it so much. Some might have issues with the language or other content, but The Revolution of Little Girls is worth a look.

Mar 17, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols – Book Review

Such-a-RushBy Kim Henderson, Center for the Book Intern

Summary: Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols is a quirky, cute, contemporary novel. The story follows Leah as she learns how to fly planes. She has a wonderful father/daughter relationship with Mr. Hall, her teacher, but things get complicated when she develops feelings for his two boys, Grayson and Alec. Even though the story focuses on planes, it isn’t difficult to follow the parts when Leah is learning about flight. It gets really intriguing when Leah realizes the boys have different plans for their father’s flying business. Overall, this was an excellent story. All of the characters were lovable in their own way. This book has something for everyone, and is absolutely worth picking up.

Mar 13, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Speaker @ the Center to Host State Poet Laureate

The South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book will host a book talk and signing on Friday, April 18, from noon to 1:00 p.m. at 1500 Senate St., Columbia.

Published by USC Press, New and Selected Poems  includes more than fifty poems from Marjory Wentworth’s previous three collections, Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, and The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle, plus twenty-eight new poems. This collection serves as a capstone to Wentworth’s tenure as South Carolina poet laureate, a title she has held since 2003.

Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina poet laureate and five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of three collections of verse, the children’s book Shackles (2009 Silver Medal winner in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards), and Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights (with Juan E. Mendez). She is coeditor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green (USC Press). Wentworth teaches at the Art Institute of Charleston, and she is the president and cofounder of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts.

All Speaker @ the Center programs take place from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the South Carolina State Library located at 1500 Senate St., Columbia. Speaker @ the Center is FREE and open to the public. Bring your lunch and enjoy learning more about South Carolina. Please visit for a list of additional book talks and signings.

The South Carolina Center for the Book is the South Carolina Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is a cooperative project of the South Carolina State Library, the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science, and The Humanities CouncilSC.

Mar 13, 2014
Curtis Rogers

Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2014: Call for Entries

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition has launched its Call for Entries, presenting a fantastic opportunity for established and emerging writers to showcase their poetry and short fiction to an international audience.

Previous winners and finalists from the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition have gone on to achieve recognition around the world, having been selected from over 3,000 entries to be published the anthology. Last year, poetry winner and award-winning novelist Sylvia Adams was selected for her piece Hands A Choice, and Jennifer Roe championed the Short Fiction category with Roses are Red.

Prizes include publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a compelling anthology of new writing loved by audiences internationally including literary students and fellow writers, a selection of inspirational books from our competition partners and £500 prize money.

Visit for more information and to register your entry today. Entry is £10 and the deadline to submit your work is 31 August 2014. One entry permits the submission of two works into any one category.

Looking for literary inspiration? CLICK HERE to pick up a copy of last year’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.