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SC Humanities leader to receive prestigious advocacy award

Akers to be recognized for literary advocacy

Randy Akers, executive director of South Carolina Humanities, has been selected to receive the 2023 Frances Mims-Paul Talmadge Literary Advocacy Award.

[caption id="attachment_53991" align="alignright" width="200"]Headshot of Randy Akers Randy Akers. SC Humanities photo.[/caption] Given biennially by the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the award honors a person, persons or organization that demonstrate or have demonstrated long and continuing service to the literary arts in South Carolina. “The South Carolina Academy of Authors was founded to advocate the talents of the many extraordinary writers of the state,” Marybeth Evans, chair of the SCAA board of governors, said. “Under the many years of Dr. Akers’ directorship of South Carolina Humanities, that advocacy has continued with its links to South Carolina’s cultural heritage and history.” Now in his 35th year as executive director of South Carolina Humanities, Akers is the longest-serving executive director of a humanities council in the United States. He is the second recipient of the Mims-Talmadge award. Sara June Goldstein, the long-serving literary arts coordinator at the South Carolina Arts Commission, was the first, in 2021. Founded in 1986 at Anderson University, then Anderson College, the SCAA’s principal purpose is to identify and recognize the state’s distinguished writers and promote their literature’s influence on our cultural heritage. The late Frances Mims, an English professor at Anderson College, and the late Paul Talmadge, a vice president and academic dean at Anderson College, established the academy together. The SCAA’s literary advocacy award honors them.
Akers will be honored at a luncheon Oct. 28 in the Campus Room at the University of South Carolina. For information and tickets, click here.

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‘Fall Lines’ literary journal calls for submissions

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, July 31, 2023

Fall Lines – a literary convergence is a literary journal presented by The Jasper Project in partnership with Richland Library and One Columbia for Arts and History.

Fall Lines will accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, essays, short fiction, and flash fiction through July 31, 2023. While the editors of Fall Lines hope to attract the work of writers and poets from the Carolinas and the Southeastern U.S., acceptance of work is not dependent upon residence. Publication in Fall Lines will be determined by a panel of judges and accepted authors will be notified by Dec. 31, 2023 with a publication date in early 2024. This year we are offering three cash prizes of $250 each. The Saluda River Prize for Poetry and the Broad River Prize for Prose sponsored by the Richland Library Friends and Foundation as well as the Combahee River Prize which will be awarded to an S.C. writer of color in either poetry or prose.

Fine Print

POETRY: Up to five (5) poems may be submitted, each as an individual MS Word file (.doc/.docx). Include one (1) cover sheet for up to five (5) poems with the titles of all poems appearing on the single cover sheet. No poem should exceed four (4) 6 x 9-inch pages.

New this year: To ensure the integrity of the poet’s spacing, it is best that poems be formatted to appear on a 6 x 9-inch page with I-inch margins. If submitted in a larger format, we cannot guarantee your poem will be printed with the spacing you desire.

PROSE: Up to five (5) prose entries, each of 2,500 words or less, may be submitted with each submitted as an individual MS Word file (.doc/.docx). Include one (1) cover sheet for up to five (5) prose submissions with the titles of all five (5) submissions appearing on the single cover sheet. COVER SHEET should include:
  • your name
  • the titles of ALL your submissions
  • your email address
  • mailing address.
Authors’ names should not appear on the submission. Do not send bios. All entries should be titled. No simultaneous submissions. There is no fee to enter, but submissions that fail to follow the above instructions will be disqualified without review.

Please submit your entries at https://jasperproject.org/fall-lines

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South Arts announces Southern Prize, state fellowships for literary artists

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, August 4, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET

South Arts announced this week it is launching a new series of programs to provide direct support to the literary arts community of the Southeastern U.S.

Now accepting applications, the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts centers critical support around writers among the region. The program aims to span the entirety of the literary arts field, annually awarding writers $80,000 in awards. This inaugural cycle will support fiction authors, with cycles in future years rotating through genres including drama/playwriting, poetry, creative nonfiction, and young adult fiction. Modeled after South Arts’ flagship visual arts program—Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts—this new literary arts fellowship program was created in acknowledgment of a discrepancy in regional funding for writers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual wages of writers living and working among the Southeastern region have historically ranged 50% lower in comparison to that of the Northeast and Western regions. Through this new program, South Arts is emphasizing the important role that these artists play in the wellbeing of a region’s culture—one that has inspired literary icons like Maya Angelou, Valerie Boyd, Judith Ortiz Cofer, William Faulkner, bell hooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Kalamu Salaam, Celestine Sibley, David Sedaris, Natasha Tretheway, and Margaret Walker among many others.
During the current application cycle, which is open through August 4, 2023, fiction writers may submit published, unpublished, or works-in-progress created since January 2016 for consideration. A national jury will select nine State Fellows for Literary Arts—one per state in South Arts’ region—based on artistic excellence that reflects the diversity of the region. Each of the nine state fellowship winners will be awarded $5,000 and will compete for the Southern Prize for Literary Arts. A second jury will review the State Fellows to determine the Southern Prize winner, who will receive an additional $25,000, and a finalist who will receive an additional $10,000. Additionally, both Southern Prize awardees will receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The inaugural recipients of the Southern Prize & State Fellowship for Literary Arts are planned to be announced in early 2024. The new program will feature annual cycles that will cover and serve writers across genres:
  • 2024: Fiction
  • 2025: Drama/Playwrighting
  • 2026: Poetry
  • 2027: Creative Non-Fiction
  • 2028: Young Adult Fiction
Guidelines for the Southern Prize & State Fellowship for Literary Arts are available here. In addition to it, South Arts will also begin offering dedicated funding programs for literary arts projects later this year and anticipates hosting convenings in the near future.

About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. Since its establishment in 1975, South Arts has been dedicated to supporting the arts and cultural ecosystem of its nine-state region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For more information on the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts or South Arts’ other programs, visit southarts.org.

Jason Rapp

In-person Charleston Literary Festival coming back this November

Word is out. The first release of the leading global talent participating in the Charleston Literary Festival has been revealed.

This fall, a host of world-class creators and thinkers will descend upon the "perennial destination favorite" Charleston, South Carolina to explore today's most pressing ideas with guests from near and far. Running from Nov. 4-13, 2022, the Charleston Literary Festival offers audiences more than the average experience with a choice of purposefully eclectic speakers carefully curated based on literary and artistic excellence, originality, and critical acclaim. In addition, leading topics will include racial injustice, challenges to democracy, generational trauma, and the survival story of a royal family, among many others. Festival subscribers will have the opportunity to visit unique venues set back along historic streets lined with flickering gas lanterns that make the Lowcountry such an appeal for fall travel. "The festival offers a communal experience where all are welcome to share conversations, ideas, arguments, laughter, and tears. Above all, the festival symbolizes the power of books to reconnect us," Artistic Director Diana Reich said.

Confirmed authors at Charleston Literary Festival

  • Sandy Hook, from New York Times writer Elizabeth Williamson, is a landmark investigation of the aftermath of a school shooting, the work of Sandy Hook parents who fought to defend themselves, and the truth of their children’s fate against the frenzied distortions of online deniers and conspiracy theorists.
  • The Palace Papers, Tina Brown, award-winning writer and editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, picks up where The Diana Chronicles left off, revealing how the royal family reinvented itself after the trau­matic years when Diana’s blazing celebrity ripped through the House of Windsor like a comet.
  • Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Today, Eddie S Glaude Jr., one of the nation's most prominent scholars, is a passionate educator, author, political commentator, and public intellectual who examines the complex dynamics of the American experience. Named one of the best books of the year by Time, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune, Begin Again is where Glaude finds hope and guidance in James Baldwin as he mixes biography with history, memoir, and poignant analysis of our current moment to reveal the painful cycle of Black resistance and white retrenchment.
  • By Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, Horse is based on the true story of record-breaking 19th-century thoroughbred Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire. It is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, the bond between people and animals, and an unfinished reckoning with racial injustice throughout different American history periods.
  • The Latecomer, Jean Hanff Korelitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, touches on grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

Charleston Literary Festival details

  • Programming: The festival, running November 4-13, 2022, will offer most of its events live with a small selection of online sessions. Programming revolves around intimate conversations between authors and interlocutors that include an opportunity for audience members to interact.
  • Ticket sales: Details for tickets and the complete programming list and schedule will be released in early September 2022.
  • Announcements: Sign up for the newsletter for up-to-date media alerts and participant lists.
  • Location: Charleston is the home of the festival, with live events presented in notable venues in the historic downtown area. All events will be held within easy walking distance of local amenities such as boutique hotels, great shopping, and plentiful restaurants.
  • Plan your trip: Charleston boasts a thriving art and music scene, award-winning food, pristine beaches, and sensational outdoor activities among its over 2,500 historic buildings.
  • Support the festival: festival donors make it possible to broaden event access to students and others through free and reduced-price tickets while also receiving exclusive access to events and tickets.
Click here for Charleston Literary Festival online.
Charleston Literary Festival was founded in 2017 as a result of an Anglo-American collaboration between the historic Charleston Library Society in the United States and the Charleston Trust in the United Kingdom - the former rural meeting place of the renowned Bloomsbury Group of writers, artists, and intellectuals. The Festival is now an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)3 enterprise that retains a strong transatlantic dimension. It takes place each November in Charleston, South Carolina. The program and activities are carefully curated to share and discuss innovative stories and ideas from recent and classical books and inform, enrich, and entertain.

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S.C. Novel Prize announces changes

Hub City Press and the South Carolina Arts Commission announce changes to their South Carolina Novel Prize.

[caption id="attachment_48686" align="alignright" width="250"]Logos for Hub City Press, South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina State Library and South Carolina Humanities. To partner on the South Carolina Novel Series an expansion of the South Carolina Novel Prize that will publish new fiction from S.C. writers. Click image to enlarge.[/caption] Starting in 2022, the prize will be renamed the South Carolina Novel Series and will biennially award $1,500 and book publication to a novel by a writer living in South Carolina. Final selection will be made by Hub City Press editors. The series is open to writers of all levels who have lived in South Carolina for at least one year prior to submission of their manuscript. Co-sponsors include the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), the South Carolina State Library and South Carolina Humanities. Submissions for the series will open on January 1, 2022 and will close April 15, 2022 and will require no submission fee. Hub City Press Director Meg Reid says of the new series, “We are thrilled to announce this expanded series that continues the good work we have accomplished with the Novel Prize over our 14-year partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission. Our shared priority with this series is to increase accessibility while elevating the finest writers living and working in South Carolina.” SCAC Executive Director David Platts adds, “Like any good draft, this partnership is evolving to improve. As it does so, it furthers the South Carolina Arts Commission’s mission to cultivate creativity in the Palmetto State while creating professional opportunities for artists. Hub City Press is nationally recognized, award-winning, and already does those things. We are grateful to have them as the strongest possible partner for this program and are proud they call South Carolina home.” The selected author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press. Upon successful execution of the contract with Hub City, the selected author will receive a $1,500 advance against royalties. Submission information can be found here. Manuscripts will be taken through online submission during the open reading period only.
Founded in Spartanburg in 1995, Hub City Press is the South’s premier independent literary press. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and focused on finding and spotlighting extraordinary new and unsung writers from the American South, their curated list champions diverse authors and books that don’t fit into the commercial or academic publishing landscape. Hub City Press books have been widely praised and reviewed in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and many other outlets.

Jason Rapp

Prize-winning novel’s cover revealed

Pre-orders open for Blue Line Down

The 2020 South Carolina Novel Prize winner is inching closer to its publication date.

Late last week, Hub City Press revealed the cover art for Blue Line Down (below) and began accepting pre-orders for Maris Lawyer's new novel. Lawyer, a writer from Easley who lives in Greenville, was judged best among the submissions for the state's biennial book award. It is slated for a June 2021 release. (In a spin on what the youth say, "That's it. That's the post.")  

Jason Rapp

Greenville author’s debut novel gets ‘Best Thriller’ award

The Medina Device drops this week

Author T.J. Champitto was recently granted the 2020 Maxy Award for Best Thriller for his debut novel, The Medina Device, which releases Aug. 6, 2020.

Look for it in paperback, ebook and audiobook. “I’ve waited a long time for this,” says Champitto, who is represented by Langtons International Literary Agency. “It’s been a wild ride and I’m thrilled to see it finally release. The Medina Device has already won a big award and been critically acclaimed by reviewers around the globe, but in a lot of ways the real fun is just getting started.” T.J. Champitto is an American novelist who was once known for his successful travel blog, "The Blazing Nomad," which he retired in 2018 in order to focus on his new book. His captivating writing style and ability to weave suspenseful storylines caught the attention of Black Rose Writing, who acquired the publishing rights to The Medina Device last year. The novel follows a former Navy SEAL who enjoys a secret life of high-stakes crime which has gained the attention of the FBI. But when a secret brotherhood emerges, they offer him the opportunity of a lifetime—to steal the greatest archaeological discovery in human history. Secret societies, ancient technology and international espionage all converge in a journey that will test the bounds of reality. The Medina Device is available at all major retailers and can be ordered online from Amazon.

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Sunspot Lit’s 2020 ‘Inception’ contest

Call issued for literary or visual art

Submission deadline: Sept. 30, 2020

Sunspot Lit’s 2020 Inception contest is open to literary and visual artists.


Send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry. Graphic novel entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words...so, cut the number of panels in order to meet the word count, if needed.


This contest is also now open for artwork. Visual art entries should be the first in a series, the first in a gallery lineup, the first photo in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image with up to 250 words to describe the series, lineup or collection.

The Contest

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

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2020 S.C. Novel Prize goes to Upstate writer

Winning manuscript publishes in 2021

The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, the College of Charleston, the South Carolina State Library,  and South Carolina Humanities are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2020 South Carolina Novel Prize is Maris Lawyer for her manuscript The Blue Line Down.  

Lawyer’s winning manuscript will be published in 2021 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg.

Maris Lawyer (right) grew up in Oconee County and hasn’t strayed far since. Graduating with a degree in Creative Writing from Anderson University in 2017, she then moved into a tiny apartment in Greenville with her husband, where she spent her evenings hunched over a laptop writing stories. Maris and her husband (and two cats) are now homeowners in Easley, where she still catches a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains every day.

Stephanie Powell Watts, author of We Are Taking Only What We Need and No One is Coming to Save Us was the judge of the biennial prize this year. Of the winning manuscript, Watts wrote, “Readers are always looking for the topic that both feels familiar until we scratch the surface a little and realize we know almost nothing about it. In the clear light of the present, movements, protests and even revolutions of the past can seem obvious and inevitable. History loves to condense the story, connecting dots to make the narrative cohere. However, there is turmoil, angst, and great human suffering in between those dots. This story shows us how a decent enough person might be compelled to aid and abet bullies and killers. The story also shows us the main character's remarkable path to possible redemption.”

The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the following partner organizations:

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances.

Hub City Press was founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1995 and since then has emerged as one of the South's premier independent presses.

The College of Charleston is home not only to a cadre of nationally and internationally recognized writing faculty, but also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, Crazyhorse, published since 1960 and consistently ranked as among the top publishing venues in the nation. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program provides students an immersion in a world of prose and poetry and the practical aspects of establishing a career in the arts.

The South Carolina State Library develops, supports, and sustains a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger. The Library serves the people of South Carolina by supporting state government and libraries to provide opportunities for learning in a changing environment.

South Carolina Humanities is the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. SC Humanities presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call http://www.SouthCarolinaArts.com, 803.734.8696; and http://www.hubcity.org, 864.577.9349.

More about Maris Lawyer

Maris Lawyer is a born and bred native of the South Carolina Upstate. She graduated with a degree in creative writing from Anderson University and has since gone to work as an HR generalist for an environmental consulting firm in Greenville. Maris lives in Easley with her husband Benjamin and two cats, Merlin and Luna. Alongside reading and writing, Maris spends much of her time fussing over the vegetable garden in her back yard. In The Blue Line Down, protagonist Jude Washer leaves his tormented childhood in the Virginian coal mines to join the Baldwin-Felts agents—the very agents who hunted down and disbanded the unionizers at his own mine camp. Instead of living a life of power and control, Jude finds himself disturbed by the brutal brand of justice dealt out by the Baldwin-Felts, and seeks to free himself and his young trainee, Harvey. An unplanned escape turns into a harrowing manhunt as Jude and Harvey flee the Baldwin-Felts, traveling down the Blue Ridge Mountains only to fall into the hands of bootleggers—who may present a greater threat than the Baldwin-Felts.

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