By the Book: Augusta Chosen as host for 2015 Georgia Literary Festival

Writers this side of the Mason-Dixon Line have always had a flair for memorable prose.


Author Natalie Goldberg describes the work of a typical Southern scribe: “Their words are lush like the land they come from, filled with nine aunties, people named Bubba. There is something extravagant and wild about what they have to say … something fertile, with a hidden danger or shame, thick like the humidity, unspoken yet ever-present.”

On Nov. 6 and 7 more than 40 Southern writers will gather in Augusta on the Georgia Regents University campus for the Georgia Literary Festival.

What is the Georgia Literary Festival?

The Georgia Center for the Book and the Georgia Humanities Council throw this free event in a different Georgia city every year.

It celebrates Georgia’s varied and renowned literary talent. The festival is in its 14th year, and for the first time, Augusta will be the host city. Authors will share their words and wisdom via panels and readings.

There’ll be a children’s area, and various vendors will peddle books and other literary-related goods and services. Patrons can also pay to attend a pre-festival reception and mingle with their favorite authors. This year’s event is supported in part by a Porter Fleming grant.

The festival will feature celebrity chef Nathalie Dupree, bestselling authors Joshilyn Jackson, Karen White, Patti Henry Callahan, Will Harlan and others.

Discussion panels will showcase writers of memoirs, mystery, young adult fiction, debut novels, poetry, beach reads, historical nonfiction, cookbooks and more. Local celebrities and columnists will also be in attendance. Authors are being added daily.

Why was Augusta chosen?

Augusta has been the home to more literary luminaries than you can shake a thesaurus at.

Berry Fleming was best known for his novel about Richmond County’s corrupt Cracker party, Colonel Effingham’s Raid.

Erskine Caldwell, who penned the controversial Tobacco Road, used to be an Augusta Chronicle sports stringer.

Frank Yerby, the first black writer to sell over a million copies of his works, was born here.

These three late authors will be the subject of a panel at the festival. In addition, recently departed writers Louise Shivers and Starkey Flythe will be honored. Donations can be made in their memory for $100.

For sponsorship information or general festival questions, e-mail me at

Private donations of $25 or more will be recognized in the program and can be made at or by sending a check to the Georgia Literary Festival, c/o of Anna Harris, EFL Dept., Summerville, Box 19, GRU, 1120 15th St., Augusta, GA 30912.

Vendors should contact Aspasia Luster at For updates, follow


SOUTH CAROLINA BOOK FESTIVAL: Can’t wait until November? The South Carolina Book Festival, which attracts nearly 6,000 booklovers, will be held in Columbia from May 15-17 and will host dozens of authors including Pat Conroy, Rick Bragg, and Dorothea Benton Frank. Admission is free. Find more information at


CONGRATULATIONS TO LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT: Rick Davis, professor emeritus at GRU, had two plays published this year – Behold a Pale Ryder and The Naked Man on the Couch. Another play, The Class of 2004ever! will be showcased at the Last Frontier Literary festival in Valdez, Alaska.