Celebrate accomplishments of state’s writers

South Carolina Academy of Authors to induct four writers.

This column originally appeared in The Greenville News.

Jill HendrixAs the owner of local independent bookstore Fiction Addiction, I have the pleasure of meeting South Carolina authors on nearly a weekly basis and I’m deeply impressed by the depth of literary talent that our state is home to. It was a natural fit when I joined the board of the South Carolina Academy of Authors last year, since the Academy’s principal purpose is to identify and recognize our state’s distinguished writers.

This April, the Academy will be holding its first-ever awards ceremony in Greenville and three of the four writers we are inducting into the state’s literary hall of fame have ties to the Upstate. I invite everyone who supports the literary arts — from readers, to writers, to teachers — to join us the weekend of April 25-26 to celebrate the accomplishments of Gilbert Allen, Janette Turner Hospital, John Lane and Robert Quillen.

Gilbert Allen is a prize-winning poet, a tenured professor of literature at Furman University, and the editor of Ninety-Six Press, which has published distinguished S.C. poets since 1991. Janette Turner Hospital’s award-winning body of work — nine novels and four short-story collections to date — shows her belief in resilience and redemption; though born in Australia, she has come to call South Carolina home and serves as Professor Emerita at USC. John Lane is a poet, essayist and author who is now taking on the challenge of developing the environmental studies major at Wofford College. Robert Quillen, deceased, was an American journalist and humorist who founded the Fountain Inn Tribune and at the height of his career syndicated his stories to over 400 publications across the world.

The induction festivities kick off on Friday, April 25, at noon with a luncheon featuring Janette Turner Hospital, then continue on Friday with a tour of Robert Quillen’s office in Fountain Inn and a reading at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts by past inductees Terrance Hayes, Josephine Humphreys and George Singleton. On Saturday, John Lane will give a reading from his new book, “The Web of Water: Reflections of Life Along the Saluda and Reedy Rivers” at Furman’s Shi Center (co-sponsored by Upstate Forever) then lead a walk on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Gil Allen will read at the Hughes downtown library Saturday afternoon, then the weekend concludes with the awards banquet at Furman’s Younts Center at 6 p.m. The detailed schedule of events is online at http://scacademyofauthors.org. The opening and closing events are ticketed (tickets are still available), but the others are completely free.

If you can’t attend this year’s events, I challenge you to view the academy’s list of past inductees then stop by the library or a local bookstore and take a moment to marvel at the number of S.C. authors on the shelves and perhaps even try the work of one previously unknown to you.

The South Carolina Academy of Authors is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the SC Arts Commission and reliant on our university and community sponsors. We thank you all for your support!

Jill Hendrix is the owner of Fiction Addiction. She grew up in Greenville, was the 1991 valedictorian of Southside High School and one of its first International Baccalaureate diploma recipients, and graduated from Yale University. Write to her at jill@fiction-addition.com.