The inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival will be held February 19-21, 2016, in Columbia, South Carolina. The weekend-long festival will feature readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a wide range of other literary events for many interests and all ages.
The Deckle Edge literary festival will gather and foster the diverse branches of our region’s literary community through an inclusive weekend of public events and programming for readers, writers, and lovers of the written word. While Deckle Edge has its roots in the storied tradition of South Carolina’s literary life, the festival is committed to forging new ground, challenging existing boundaries, and broadening the conception of the literary South.
The festival hopes to appeal to regional and national audiences while remaining a community focused effort, partnering with an extensive network of South Carolina literary and cultural organizations, including Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, Hub City Writers Project, the SC Center for Children’s Books & Literacy, Ed Madden and the Columbia Office of the Poet Laureate, South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, the Low Country Initiative for Literary Arts, Jasper Magazine, Richland County schools, and others.
Deckle Edge will be built on the strong foundation of the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities Council SC, which announced the festival’s dissolution this past summer. The Humanities Council SC is now actively pursuing a variety of year-round statewide literary initiatives and has been supportive of the plans for Deckle Edge as a new literary event to be hosted in Columbia. “The SC Book Festival was a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we’re grateful to the Humanities Council SC for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Darien Cavanaugh, “We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will.”
Participating authors and specific panels have not yet been announced. While the festival will not be limited to local talent, programming will highlight a handful of New York Times bestselling authors from the Carolinas, some beloved favorites from past SC Book Festivals, and many voices not previously heard from at South Carolina literary events. “This is Columbia’s literary festival,” said Deckle Edge co-chair Annie Boiter-Jolley, “but it’s also joining the larger conversation about literature of and in the South. We look forward to sharing our vision with writers and readers, and to hearing from them as to what Deckle Edge might become in future years.”
As the festival goes through the process of applying for nonprofit status, One Columbia for Arts and History will be acting as its fiscal sponsor. Deckle Edge has also sought financial support through city and county tax grants, and is currently accepting tax-deductible donations through One Columbia. “Deckle Edge is the right literary event at the right time,” said One Columbia executive director Lee Snelgrove. “What Annie and Darien are building with their partnerships is very ambitious, but this city has already proven that ambition can be rewarded in our arts community. One Columbia is proud to be a partner in establishing this new literary festival.”