Coinciding with the publication of Literary South Carolina, the fully-illustrated literary history from the Hub City Writers Project, Converse College’s continuing education department will offer a Chautauqua-style course that focuses upon the contributions of influential South Carolina authors who have connections with Converse College. “Literary South Carolina: The Converse Connection” begins Tuesday, March 2ndand will meet weekly from 7-8 p.m. through May 11. Sessions will be moderated by Dr. Edwin Epps, author of Literary South Carolina.
“Contemporary literature in South Carolina is as good as anywhere else in the country, and Converse College has played a particularly important role in its development,” said Dr. Epps. “During the course, we will discuss authors from yesteryear such as Julia Mood Peterkin and Elizabeth Boatwright Coker, and present day authors who are making names for themselves; among them Dr. Rosa Shand, Susan Beckham Jackson, Rick Mulkey and Susan Tekulve.”
The Chautauqua-style sessions will be conducted as an informal literary salon, with guest speakers and writers from the Converse and Spartanburg communities. Dr. Shand, the Larrabee Professor Emerita of English at Converse, and current Converse English professors Tekulve and Mulkey are among the scheduled speakers. Others include playwright and novelist Marsha Poliakoff, essayist and author Meg Barnhouse, Converse archivist Dr. James G. Harrison, Spartanburg High School teacher-poets Frances Hardy and Susan Beckham Jackson, and former Assistant Director of the South Carolina Library at USC Dr. Thomas L. Johnson.
Space for the course is limited, and an enrollment fee of $95 will cover full tuition, handouts and materials. Participants should also plan to purchase a copy of “Literary South Carolina” ($20). For additional information and registration, call Joe Ann Lever at (864) 596-9147 or e-mail email@example.com. The registration deadline is Feb. 21.
For Dr. Epps, a Columbia native a current English teacher at Spartanburg High School, writing “Literary South Carolina” was a labor of devotion. “I have loved the history and literature of South Carolina almost ever since I loved to read,” he said. “The book, which had been in conceptual form for about 12 years, explores contributions of more than 300 South Carolina writers from the colonial times to present day. I believe the progression of South Carolinian authors is very noticeable; in the 18th and 19th centuries, the style imitated that of British authors and was not very original at all. During the 20th century, however, we were treated by works from authors such as Du Bose Heyward, whose ‘Porgy’ has served as the libretto for the first great American folk opera, and Julia Mood Peterkin who won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Scarlet Sister Mary. That progression continues to this day with authors such as Rosa Shand who is regarded by many to be a master of the short story.”