College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Creative Inquiry

Clemson Literary Festival receives S.C. Humanities grant; announces April 10-12 lineup


CLEMSON – The Clemson Literary Festival recently received a $3,000 grant from South Carolina Humanities and the South Carolina Arts Commission to defray the cost of bringing nationally known writers to the annual event.

This is a photo of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess, headlining the 12th annual Clemson Literary Festival in April.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess will headline the 12th annual Clemson Literary Festival in April.

“Clemson Literary Festival team members were thrilled to hear that the South Carolina Humanities Fast Track Literary Grant had been awarded to us in support of our event this year,” said John Pursley, co-director of the festival and a lecturer in English at Clemson University.

This year’s festival features headliner Tyehimba Jess, author of “Olio,” which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

More than a dozen other writers and literary events are scheduled during the three-day Literary Festival April 10-12 at venues on and around the Clemson campus.

“The festival provides a wonderful opportunity for the university and the community to come together to appreciate and enjoy outstanding writers in a setting that allows for discussion and exchange of ideas,” said Randy Akers, executive director of South Carolina Humanities. “Literature provides a context for viewing contemporary society.”

South Carolina Humanities is a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Fast Track Literary Grants help support literary programs such as writers’ series, festivals, conferences, workshops and residencies at schools. Fast Track grants also are supported by the South Carolina Arts Commission, a state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians.

The award is a matching grant requiring a one-to-one commitment by the festival.

“We are a student-led organization that prides itself on our commitment to engaging the university and regional community and expand the already broad array of cultural opportunities here in the Upstate,” Pursley said. “South Carolina Humanities’ generous support moves us that much closer to ensuring that the literary festival in April will be the kind of world-class event we are proud to offer our shared South Carolina community.”

Clemson students coordinate and oversee almost every aspect of the Clemson Literary Festival. As a part of a two-semester Creative Inquiry class, students read a wide selection of poets’ and prose writers’ works to select the event’s guest speakers. Those students, from a variety of majors, interact with local business owners, city officials, literary booking agents and campus organizations. They also work with guest writers during the festival. Students gain valuable experience in advertising, public relations, editing, photography, digital media, graphic design, grant writing and event planning, among other skills.

The Literary Festival is also sponsored by the Clemson Humanities Hub.

Below is the schedule for the 12th annual Clemson Literary Festival. More details will be added to the Clemson Literary Festival website over the coming months.

Wednesday, April 10

  • 9 a.m.-noon.: Book fair (Cooper Library Bridge).
  • 3-4:15 p.m.: South Carolina Review Presents: A reading with Clemson alumni Becky Adnot-Haynes and Dustin Pearson (Class of ’41 Studio in Daniel Hall).
  • 8-10 p.m.: Literary trivia (Location TBD).

Thursday, April 11

  • 9 a.m.-noon: Book fair (Cooper Library Bridge).
  • 12:30-1:45 p.m.: Clemson faculty reading (Class of ’41 Studio in Daniel Hall).
  • 2-3 p.m.: Student writing award winners reading (Class of ’41 Studio in Daniel Hall).
  • 4:30-6 p.m.: Visiting writer readings: Laura Leigh Morris, Chen Chen, Sarah Domet (Tiger Town Tavern).
  • 8-9 p.m.: 12th annual headliner reading with poet Tyehimba Jess (100 Brackett Hall).
  • 9:30-11 p.m.: After party (Nick’s Tavern and Deli).

Friday, April 12

  • 9 a.m.-noon: Book fair (Cooper Library Bridge).
  • 2-3:15 p.m.: Festival author roundtable discussion (Class of ’41 Studio in Daniel Hall).
  • 4:30-6 p.m.: Visiting writer readings: Matthew Cooperman, Sarah Blackman, Ashley M. Jones (Amici).
  • 7:30-9 p.m.: Visiting writer readings: Alan Rossi, Cynthia Cruz, Julia Elliott (Amici).
  • 9:30-11 p.m.: Open mic (Moe Joe).
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