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Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ virtual writing workshop is back in October

Two-part writing workshop continues S.C. tour

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption]
Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is back for more on Saturday, Oct. 24 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. In conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Water/Ways, the South Carolina Maritime Museum in Georgetown is hosting this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings next month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! Although Communal Pen is a virtual program, the Water/Ways exhibit will be on display at the South Carolina Maritime Museum from September 28 through November 8.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, "Communal Pen" writing workshop creator and facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a very young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, an accomplished poet and jazz singer, she invites audiences of all ages to share her passion for combining these art forms, highlighting her belief in the powerful influence of jazz on the American literary experience and aesthetic. She has taught her unique Jazz Poetry Salon at residencies with the Richland County Public Library, Arts Access South Carolina, Youth Corps, Fairfield Middle School, McKissick Museum, and ColaJazz’s partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, among others. Other selected accomplishments include her publication, Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson, celebrating Eboni’s ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case, and the release of her poetry CD, Passion, and her jazz CD, The Look of Love. Learn more about Eboni at www.EboniRamm.com. "Communal Pen: Water/Ways" coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the S.C. Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. She holds a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in folklore/anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include folklife & traditional arts program director at McKissick Museum, community engagement coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for various arts and culture agencies nationwide. Having attended, coordinated, and facilitated diverse workshops, she is a devoted believer in the power of community writing.
 

Submitted material

Award-winning S.C. poet to lead workshops in Georgetown Co.

Award-winning poet Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul, will lead a series of poetry writing workshops this October and November in her native Georgetown County.

[caption id="attachment_45489" align="alignright" width="251"]Close up facial image of Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul Marlanda Dekine, Sapient Soul[/caption] The workshops are scheduled for Wednesdays in October and November 2020 from 10-11:30 a.m. for the Georgetown County Library System (GCLS). Due to COVID-19, all sessions will be conducted online with the video-conferencing program, BlueJeans. The program is free and open to the public. However, space in the workshop is limited in order to give proper attention to all participants. To register, please contact, Dr. Dan Turner at 843.545.3363 or dturner@gtcounty.org. If you’re interested, don’t let technology stand in your way. GCLS has laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots available for patrons to check out.
The overall theme for the sessions is “Writing Wherever You Are” and offers a unique approach to writing poetry, one that can be of equal value for beginning and experienced poets. Dekine will bring in a selection of poems by accomplished and emerging South Carolina poets and then guide participants through key elements of these works. She will then discuss ways participants can incorporate these techniques into their own writing. Each individual session of the overall “Writing Wherever You Are” series has a distinct focus to provide participants with a diverse range of approaches and tools for creating poems. Individual session topics are listed below:
  • October 7: “The Blank Page”: Techniques to start writing
  • October 14: “Healing through Writing”: Cathartic approaches to generating individuality
  • October 21: “Voice & Tone”: Immersion in literature to speak truthfully and well
  • October 28: “Sound & Noise”: Consideration of the musicality of words
  • November 4: “Before We Wrote, We Spoke”: Vocal ways to recall oral traditions
The workshop series is funded by a Fast-Track Literary Grant from SC Humanities and the SCAC. The sessions are supported by the Friends of the Library groups at each of the four GCLS libraries: Georgetown, Waccamaw, Andrews, and Carvers Bay.
Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul is a poet and author from Plantersville. Her work has appeared in Emergence Magazine, Screen Door Review, Flycatcher Journal, Spark & Echo Arts, TEDxGreenville, and elsewhere. Previously, Marlanda studied in Paris with NYU’s Low-Residency MFA program and was a 2019 Fresh Voice of the Year, awarded by SC Humanities. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at Converse College. Marlanda believes in the power of being with poetry for collective healing and liberation.

Submitted material

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.

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen: Water/Ways’ debuts July 18

Two-part writing workshop reboots with new theme

[caption id="attachment_44954" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Medlock Bridge Park
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area[/caption] Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and South Carolina Humanities, is coming back starting Saturday, July 18 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... continuing its reimagined virtual format with a brand-new theme! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. The McCormick County Chamber of Commerce and Hickory Knob State Park are hosts of this two-part writing workshop, which will be conducted over two Saturday mornings this month:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, July 25
Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.734.8680. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop draws inspiration from the new Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, which is touring South Carolina with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Traveling Exhibition Service from June 2020-April 2021. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Exhibit themes and images are a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from South Carolina Humanities.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the "Art of Community: Rural SC" initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. . She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.

Jason Rapp

Finalists named for 2020 South Carolina Novel Prize

Winner to be selected next week


The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press announce the three books named finalists in the 2020 South Carolina Novel Competition.

The finalists are: Rebecca Helms of Murrells Inlet for her manuscript Singing in the Corn, Maris Lawyer of Easley for The Blue Line Down, and Susanne Parker of Spartanburg for her novel What Happens to the Children. The winner will be announced next week and will have her book published in 2021 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Stephanie Powell Watts, was the judge of the biennial prize. Watts is the author of the novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us, and a short story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need, which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Her short fiction has been included in two volumes of the Best New Stories from the South anthology and honored with a Pushcart Prize. Born in the foothills of North Carolina, with a PhD from the University of Missouri and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she now lives with her husband and son in Pennsylvania where she is an associate professor at Lehigh University.

Rebecca D. Helms is a South Carolinian novelist, short-story writer, and poet who discovered her love of literature by the time she was only ten years old. Her style is influenced by the grit and grace of the Carolina low-country and her voice is an echo of the maternal village who raised her and showed her the way. Her first novel, Singing in the Corn, carries her readers deep inside every adventure with humor, fear, darkness, and joy—in many scenes, all at the same time. Ms. Helms is currently finalizing her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and works abroad while writing her next novel.

Maris Lawyer grew up in Oconee County, South Carolina, 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, South Carolina 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, South Carolina, where she still catches a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains every day.

Susanne Parker is a Hub City native and graduate of the Converse College Creative Writing MFA. She loves to read journey and travel narratives when she isn’t embarking on some new adventure herself. Susanne works as a library assistant and spends her free time tending the single, enormous sunflower in her garden and snuggling with her pets. What Happens to the Children is her first novel.


The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, South Carolina Humanities, South Carolina State Library, and the College of Charleston's Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing department. For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call the South Carolina Arts Commission (SouthCarolinaArts.com | 803.734.8696); or Hub City Press (HubCity.org | 864.577.9349).

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S.C. Humanities awards relief funds

$482,000 in emergency relief heads to cultural orgs


South Carolina Humanities has awarded $482,000 in emergency relief funds to 99 cultural organizations in South Carolina.

The awards reach 34 counties and all seven congressional districts. Funding for Bridge Emergency Relief Grants was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan. South Carolina Humanities Bridge Emergency Relief Grants were designed to offer unrestricted operating and/or humanities program support to cultural organizations throughout the state that are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. These grants provide immediate funds to help stabilize humanities organizations and allow them to maintain essential functions and retain core personnel, ensuring their future success. Dr. Tom Mack, board chair of South Carolina Humanities, said, “The current pandemic has severely impacted our state’s economy; and among those most adversely affected by closure and event cancellation are museums, libraries, and other cultural centers offering humanities-based programming. SC Humanities is pleased and honored to be able to offer emergency funding to a host of cultural organizations that enrich the lives of our state’s citizens each and every day. We wish we could do more. For additional information on our ongoing grant opportunities, please visit our website at schumanities.org.” “South Carolina has an annual $24 billion dollar tourism industry that includes hundreds of arts and cultural organizations that bolster that important economic sector. Closed since mid-March, these organizations and their personnel have suffered dramatically. We are very fortunate to be able to offer relief during these difficult times,” South Carolina Humanities Executive Director Dr. Randy Akers said.
Arts organizations receiving SC Humanities Bridge Emergency Relief Grants: 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta, North Augusta Arts Council of Chester County, Chester Arts Council of Greenwood County, Greenwood Arts Council of York County, Rock Hill Ballet Spartanburg, Spartanburg Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg Coastal Carolina University – Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Conway Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia Dillon County Theatre Association, Dillon Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, Myrtle Beach Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston Greenville Light Opera Works/Glow Lyric Theatre, Greenville Greenville Theatre, Greenville Greenwood Community Theatre, Greenwood The Historic Winyah Auditorium, Georgetown Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg The Jasper Project, Columbia Lancaster County Council of the Arts, Lancaster McClellanville Arts Council, McClellanville Newberry Community Players, Newberry Newberry Opera House Foundation, Newberry Nickelodeon Theatre, Columbia Pat Conroy Literary Center, Beaufort Penn Center, St. Helena Island Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra, Rock Hill South Carolina Writers Association, Columbia Spartanburg Philharmonic, Spartanburg Speaking Down Barriers, Spartanburg Trustus, Inc., Columbia USC Aiken’s Etherredge Center for the Fine Arts, Aiken USC Beaufort Center for the Arts, Beaufort
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 350,000 citizens annually.  

Jason Rapp

‘Communal Pen’ to go virtual this weekend

Writing workshop in two parts returns May 9

Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop presented by the S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities, is coming back on Saturday, May 9 to help you write to celebrate memories, stories, and traditions of place... In a reimagined format! SC HumanitiesWhat are the memories, stories and traditions that make your community home? What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity? Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down!
Facilitator EBONI RAMM will lead the virtual workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. Denmark Technical College is host of this four-hour writing workshop, which will be conducted over two, two-hour segments. It runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, May 9 and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, May 16. The format is different, but it still draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis online or call 803.771.2477. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. UPDATE: Please make sure you register by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 8. The new format does not support walk-ins as previous workshops have. Thank you. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, "Art of Community: Rural SC," a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the S.C. Humanities Council.
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is program specialist for community arts & folklife at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she provides statewide outreach and project coordination through the "Art of Community: Rural SC" initiative and other projects, while managing folklife grant and award programs. . She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.
[caption id="attachment_43154" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Canvass of the People 2020 promo graphic Click image to participate in short survey![/caption]

Jason Rapp

South Carolina Humanities announces Bridge Grants

Additional relief for organizations

First application deadline: Monday, May 4, 2020
South Carolina Humanities announced funding to humanities organizations facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. This federal funding is made available via the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act economic stabilization plan appropriated by the U.S. Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020 by President Trump. Bridge Emergency Relief Grants are for general operating expenses or humanities programming. Priority will be given to requests for general operating expenses.

Deadlines

  • Monday, May 4, 2020 by 5 p.m.
  • Monday, May 18, 2020 by 5 p.m.
  • Additional deadlines may be added depending on availability of funds.
Please click here to read guidelines and other information and apply.
Ed. note: These grants are NOT to be confused with the South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants announced the same day.

Jason Rapp

South Carolina Novel Prize opens submission window

Author Stephanie Powell Watts judging entries

Submission deadline: Monday, March 16 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
Every other year, the South Carolina Novel Prize recognizes one of South Carolina’s exceptional writers. Submissions will be read anonymously by our readers at the College of Charleston Department of English and this year's judge, author Stephanie Powell Watts. The contest is highly competitive, and the winner is provided a book contract with Hub City Press, who will print no fewer  than 2000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2021. This can also bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. The S.C. Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, and South Carolina Humanities. The College of Charleston and South Carolina State Library are also partners. The South Carolina Novel Prize (formerly the First Novel Prize) is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit and narrowed through two rounds of judging. Five novels will be judged in a third round by Watts. Find the eligibility and restrictions and link to submit on SouthCarolinaArts.com. [caption id="attachment_34666" align="aligncenter" width="563"] The world-famous Hub Calls for Art Megaphone.[/caption]   Ed. note: This post was updated March 12, 2020 with a deadline extension to March 23, reflected at the top of the post.

Finale of ‘Communal Pen’ writing workshop series set for Dillon

The S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities are excited to announce that the finale of Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop that helps participants write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community will occur in Dillon on Saturday, June 8. They have two questions:

  1. What are the memories, stories and traditions that make our community home?
  2. What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity?
Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down! Co-facilitators EBONI RAMM and MICHELLE ROSS will lead the workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. This three-and-a-half-hour writing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dillon County Library Main Branch (600 East Main St., Dillon). It draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, Art of Community: Rural SC, a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the S.C. Humanities Council. Enjoy Crossroads at Dillon County Theatre Associaion in Dillon from May 18 through June 29, 2019. The image at the top of this page is Old Sheldon by Varnville, S.C. artist Ment Nelson, who's no stranger to The Hub. Nelson celebrates his family, culture, and home community through his artwork. He is a Young Voice of the Art of Community-Rural SC initiative, and coordinator of the Creative Connectors, for the Create Rural SC project. On being an artist he says, “You never know who might be intrigued by your story.”
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen co-facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen co-facilitator Michelle Ross is a folklorist and adjunct faculty in anthropology at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She holds a master's from the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University. Ross embraces stories of all kinds. She helped establish the S.C. Center for Oral Narrative, through which she has co-created several writing workshops. Ross also works with the Mothers of Angels in telling and writing about grief from the death of a child, and has worked with veterans in telling and writing their stories. Her work has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal and an anthology of mother-in-law essays titled His Mother!; her poetry has appeared in Sandhill and The Petigru Review. For the past five years, she has been working on telling her Pontian Greek family’s refugee story, her most important project to date. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she manages several grant and award programs, and at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, where she develops programming in conjunction with folklife exhibitions. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.