I went to several sessions:
"Science and Supernatural in YA Fiction" - Jessica Khoury, Megan Miranda, Megan Shepherd
"A Sense of the Midlands" - Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, Tom Poland, Randy Spencer
"South Carolina Encyclopedia Guide to Authors" - Tom Mack, Ron Rash, George Singleton, Marjory Wentworth
"Southern Fiction Revival" - Wiley Cash, Jon Sealy, George Singleton
"A Conroy Family Roundtable" - Jim Conroy, Mike Conroy, Pat Conroy, Kathy Harvey, Tim Conroy
More after the jump, but this will be long!
One obvious thing about YA science fiction, fantasy and supernatural novels is that the cover art really pulls you in. There were piles of books for sale in the exhibit hall but I held back from purchasing that much.
read a chapbook of Nest during April for National Poetry Month, but he is also the editor of Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, the book that is now infamous in South Carolina as the freshman read that got USC Upstate reprimanded by the state government removing funding for their programs. I really would have liked to ask about all that, but the timing didn't seem right.
A Sense of the Midlands is a book of poems and prose by writers from the middle of the state, focusing on sensory experiences. It sounds like the literary community in the midlands is in a growth spurt, and that can only mean good things!
|Ron Rash and George Singleton chatting|
I went to two presentations George participated in, but I wish the SC Encyclopedia Guide to Authors had talked about more than that one volume. None of the illustrious authors on that panel got to even talk about their own work! Shame. I did talk briefly to Marjory Wentworth afterward, because I wanted to know what it was like to be the Poet Laureate for a governor that does not believe the government should provide any funding for the arts. In the most recent story, she gave the opening speech for Artisphere, commending it for being an example of donor-funded arts, not understanding that the tax-payer funded SC Arts Commission provided $19k to the event. It was an interesting chat.
The Conroy roundtable seemed to be related to a recent interview Walter Edgar did with the family for his podcast, as the interviewer kept referencing it. The siblings were very open about their rough childhoods and the two siblings missing from the panel, and Pat let the rest of them talk most of the time. How awful to discover that the abusive, controlling father in the books was a mild version of their own.
I got to meet two of my GoodReads friends who are in the "On the Southern Literary Trail" group with me. That's a southern literature group that reads two books a month - one pre-1980 and one post-1980. I hardly ever keep up with the group read but eavesdrop on the conversations and find great book recommendations. It was great to see people who I've been talking books with all along!
The funny thing is, I accidentally captured that meeting on my iPhonish. I'm the one in the dress. And you know that's conference center carpet!
read a book by Ron Rash for the first time, and really wanted to hear him speak since he was new to me. I didn't catch him actually reading any of his work, just laughing on a panel with George, but I did get him to sign the only brand new book I bought at the festival.
The other author that I got really interested in is Wiley Cash. His work sounded interesting and I look forward to picking up a copy of A Land More Kind Than Home or This Dark Road to Mercy.
Next year, I'm sure I will be back to the SC Book Festival, which is usually the weekend after Mother's Day. But because I apparently do not enjoy driving two hours home and then getting up the next morning to drive two hours back, I might consider staying overnight to enjoy more of the festival. I'm glad I went!