UNION — USC Union will be the host to the seventh annual Upcountry Literary Festival this year on Friday, March 24 from 1-5 p.m., and Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The two day event will showcase a number of nationally and regionally renowned authors, poets, and musical artists.
The Upcountry Literary Festival is honored to announce the keynote speaker this year will be Dr. Kelly Cherry, who also will be presented our William “Singing Billy” Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Letters. Dr. Cherry is a poet, novelist, and essayist whose work includes Augusta Played, The Life and Death of Poetry, and My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers, among many others. Her work is accessible, humorous, and “serious” in that most engaging way. Along with other numerous awards and honors, Dr. Cherry was named Virginia’s Poet Laureate by their Governor Bob McDonnell in 2010 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2016.
The festival will include new and returning authors. Returning author and ghost story teller, Tally Johnson, and playwright, Lee Lawing will each receive an Upcountry Literary Festival Appreciation Award. Lawing won the Young Playwrights Festival competition in Whinterhaven, Florida with his play Doll. Other productions include Prosperity at the 17th Annual Playwrights Award at Wichita State University in 1991; Delivering Dad at the DramaRama Festival in San Francisco in 1997; and A Murder of Crows was selected as the best drama at the WIT 2015 Kauai Shorts 10-Minute Play Festival in August 2016. Lawing’s new play Bull Street, inspired by a friend’s dream, will be performed by the USC Union Players at the Literary Festival. The play is set at South Carolina State Hospital on Bull Street which allowed Lawing to created two characters who were well rounded. The play is “…a story that was more thoughtful that just a retelling of a dream,” he said.
Johnson is a graduate of Spartanburg Methodist College and Wofford College with degrees in history. He attended graduate school at Winthrop and is employed at the Chester County Library. He is the author of four books on South Carolina ghosts: Ghosts of the South Carolina Upcountry (2005), Ghosts of the South Carolina Midlands (2007), and Ghosts of the Pee Dee (2009), and Civil War Ghosts of South Carolina (2013). He is also a storyteller, having appeared at school and libraries and sci-fi conventions all over the Southeast.
The event is free to everyone and will be held in the auditorium at USC Union’s Main Building. A full schedule and full participant list will be posted at a later date on the USC Union website. For more information, please contact Randy Ivey at (864) 424-8057 or email [email protected]
This story courtesy of USC Union.