Talk about something for everyone. No matter what your taste in reading, you’re likely to find an author, a workshop or a discussion about it at the South Carolina Book Festival, which kicks off Friday evening (May 16) and runs through Sunday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
More than 90 authors and presenters will take part, and there are more than 50 programs over the three days. Space in the exhibit hall sold out with more than 100 exhibitors. And virtually everything on the agenda is free.
There are big-name authors in fiction and nonfiction, prize-winning short-story writers, cookbook discussions, young adult fiction, children’s books, a panel on comics, talks with spiritual — and even paranormal — themes, and lots and lots of elements with a strong Southern flavor.
Friday evening, things kick off with two events offsite.
First is the keynote speaker, author Christopher Buckley, at 5:30 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Law School Auditorium at 701 Main St. (see page 40).
Meanwhile, across the river at the Lexington County Library at 5440 Augusta Road, there will be a discussion from 6 to 8 p.m. with award-winning authors Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald) and Lee Smith (Guests on Earth).
The full schedule and more details on authors and programs can be found at scbookfestival.org (be sure to check for any last-minute changes). Following are some of the offerings.
The real Conroy family: Hear South Carolina author Pat Conroy, three of his brothers and one sister talk about their famously dysfunctional family that Conroy thinly fictionalized in The Great Santini of book and movie fame. Saturday at 4:20 p.m. (Conroy’s wife, novelist Cassandra King, will participate in two other panels.)
Southern gals galore: So-called Southern chick lit is well represented. King will join fellow best-selling authors Karen White and Joshilyn Jackson in Compulsively Readable: Titans of Fiction at 11:20 a.m. Saturday. There’s a panel on Sassy Southern Suspense at 12:40 p.m. Saturday. There’s also Women of Action: Strong Female Characters at 3:20 p.m. Saturday. King will be a panelist on a Southern Belles discussion at 2:40 p.m. Sunday.
The French connection: Jon Sealy of Six Mile, S.C., will be on the Southern Fiction Revival panel at 3:20 p.m. Saturday with novelists George Singleton and Wiley Cash. Sealy’s The Whiskey Baron, published by Hub City Press, was recently picked up by a French publisher.
Food for thought: Lake High (A History of South Carolina Barbecue) and Adrian Miller (Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time) are on the panel A Feast of Books: Regional Food at 3:20 p.m. Saturday. A panel on A Southern Sampler: Gardens, Literature and Food is at 12:20 p.m. on Sunday. Flavor and Fun: Fantastic Cookbooks is at 2:40 p.m. Sunday and features panelists Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, co-authors of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.
World wars remembered: Heroism and Struggle: Untold Stories of WWII is at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by All Quiet on the Western Front —WWI Centennial at 4:20 p.m.
Congressional record: U.S. Rep. James Clyburn will have a conversation with historian and radio host Walter Edgar at 12:40 p.m. Saturday about the congressman’s recently released memoir, Blessed Experiences.
Local flavor: A Sense of the Midlands is at 12:40 p.m. Saturday with panelists Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, Tom Poland and Randy Spencer. Monique Blanchette Jacobs, co-author with Satch Krantz of Riverbanks Zoo: 40 Wild Years, will be on a panel of the same name at 2:40 p.m. Sunday. Then at 3:40 p.m. Sunday there will be A Conversation About Indie Bookstores, and Why Columbia Needs Her Own.
Help for authors: Writers considering self-publishing and self-promoting their works can catch Power Your Publishing with CreateSpace: An Overview at 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, Using Kickstarter to Publish a Children’s Book at 3:40 p.m. Sunday, and How to Brand Yourself in the Age of Social Media also at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.
Remember when: Columbia public relations expert Marvin Chernoff will be on a panel for The Resonance of Memoir at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. His own book, Unlikely Success: How a Guy Without a Clue Built One Hell-of-a Business, was just published.
Hard-boiled: Jane Spillane will speak at 11:20 a.m. Saturday about My Life With Mickey, her book about her late husband, one of the most popular crime writers of American fiction.
Children’s Pavilion: There will be authors, storytellers and performances for children throughout the day both Saturday and Sunday at the convention center.
Lots more: Other panels that might catch your eye include Diverse Verse (including Marjory Wentworth, state poet laureate) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Marvel Comics: Heroes of the Past, Present and Future at 4:20 p.m. Saturday, KidLit101: Grabbing Readers with Graphic Novels at 12:40 p.m. Saturday, and Science and Supernatural in YA Fiction at 11:20 a.m. Saturday.
The Literary Vine: The Richland Library Friends will host what they bill as “an evening of wine, beer, food, authors and entertainment” at the main library from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Unlike the other events, this one carries a ticket price: $30 for members of the Friends and $50 for others.
Century-old adventure: The Humanities Council SC is issuing a new edition of Claws, an adventure short story by Archibald Rutledge, the state’s first poet laureate, and selling it at the Book Festival. The story was first published in a magazine and then in a limited-edition story collection around 1913.
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