College of Arts and Humanities

Clemson Literary Festival roars back for its 16th year


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown will keynote the 16th annual Clemson Literary Festival March 29-31.

The festival, organized by students in the Clemson University Department of English, celebrates Clemson’s rich literary scene with a book fair and readings from students, faculty and visiting writers.

 “We have been talking all year about how excited we are for the arrival of Jericho Brown,” said Caroline Powers, a student organizer for the festival. “I have been reading up on his work and have become such a huge fan.”

Brown is author of the “The Tradition” (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, “Please” (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. He is a professor and the director of the creative writing program at Emory University.

Brown’s headliner reading will be held on Thursday, March 30 at 8:00 p.m. in the new Humanities Hall Auditorium. A full schedule of festival activities is continually being updated and can be viewed here.

Other authors scheduled to hold readings include Clemson Writer-in-Residence Desiree C. Bailey, Samuel Amadon, Liz Countryman, Santee Frazier, Manual Gonzales, Dustin M. Hoffman, Sheri Reynolds, Jessica Lee Richardson and M.O. Walsh.

In addition to readings and the book fair, the festival will include a Literary Trivia night and Open Mic night. Also, new to this year’s event is an English Major’s Club Poetry Contest.

“To see everyone’s creative minds work and process with a little competition is always a fun time,” Powers said.

“This is a student-run organization, which is what makes this so special,” she added. “Everything is hands-on, with event planning, social media, financials, reading over manuscripts from authors, getting the information out to the public, that’s just the start of it. It helps us be prepared for future projects with our employers to have us ready for something of this magnitude in the future.”

Sponsorship opportunities for the event are also currently available. Inquiries about sponsorships may be sent to the festival’s faculty adviser, John Pursley, at

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