Deckle Edge is a New Kind of Literary Festival

deckle DE

This year’s inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival is making a name for itself as anything other than your mother’s book fest. Yet, even with the intentional mission of creating something edgier, more casual, and more 21st century than yesterday’s book fest, there’s still plenty of stuff going on at this three-day inaugural event that your mom will enjoy taking part in, too.

what’s different about deckle edge?

To start with, the events are skewing younger and a bit more in keeping with the many and varied ways contemporary culture tells its tales these days. And this is going to be a theme the DE steering committee, headed up by Annie Boiter-Jolley (full disclosure, Annie is the ops manager for Jasper, and her mom,  Cindi, edits Jasper and also sits on the committee along with Lee Snelgrove and Jonathan Haupt), will return to in years to come. While nothing will ever take the place of holding that solid tome in a reader’s hands–the smell of the print, the tactile satisfaction of licking that index finger to flip to the next page–this fest also recognizes the way we use other art forms and non-traditional methods of conveying narratives. Stories can be told sentence by sentence, frame by frame, lyric by lyric, and more.

To that end, for example, the fest kicks off Thursday night with a free showing ($5 suggested donation) of The World Made Straight, a film based on the novel of the same name by Ron Rash, starring Noah Wiley and Steve Earle, along with the award-winning short film, Lawn of the Month, by local filmmaker Brad Wagster, which is also based on a Ron Rash short story. Both films will screen at 1216 Taylor Street (just beside Metropolis Salon and across the street from the One Columbia Office), and the Jasper Beer Hall, presented by The Whig, will be fully operational at that time.

did we say “beer hall” — did we say “the whig” — ?

Why yes, yes we did. Because the Deckle Edge steering committee knows that today’s reader is just as likely to want a complex brew to sip while she’s consuming Fulbright Fellow Mark Powell‘s most recent book The Sheltering as she is to want a cup of tea. That’s why Jasper teamed up with the fine folks at The Whig to make sure your booze needs are covered at Deckle Edge. What’s more, we’ve programmed an entire weekend of ancillary events in the Beer Hall– which also doubles as the Deckle Edge HQ and Hospitality Space–to enhance your literary pleasures. Stay tuned for a complete listing of Beer Hall events, but know that once it’s released you’ll find opportunities like having a pint with a badass local poet, getting down old school style to a selection of one of the country’s foremost Dead Head author’s favorite tunes, and hosting a neighboring feminist mag’s singer-songwriter session right there on it in black and white.

might that neighboring feminist mag be the mighty auntie bellum?

Right again! We asked the amazing women and men over at Auntie Bellum to put together a panel and they left us in awe when they told us we’d be seeing and hearing  “Sirens of South Carolina: Songwriters and Singers from the Palmetto State.” The line-up? Stefanie Santana, who will also be playing our Opening Night Celebration, Ony Ratsimbaharison of Fk. Mt., Kelley Douglas of the Prairie Willows and the Post-Timey String Band, and Amy Cuthbertson of Can’t Kids. We’re psyched about this and you will be, too, if you join us for this panel on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm.

what were we saying about an opening night celebration?

Yeah, we’ve got one, and it’s Friday night at the Columbia Museum of Art. You can read more about it here but, in a nutshell, we’re talking three big acts: Stefanie Santana, who you already know and love, or should, Hunter Park of She Returns from War, also on your radar, (right?), and all the way from cigar-smoking Tampa Bay, Banned Books Burlesque. Ten bucks for a straight-up excellent night of entertainment, plus The Whig comes through once again to keep our whistles wet and our hearts pure.  (Tickets happen right here or at the door.)

wait! there’s more!

Yes, there is, there’s a lot more, but our damn attention spans have just about petered out so let’s just take a deep breath and a quick look at just a few more highlights of what is sure to become your favorite literary festival of all time. Go!

Carolina Writers at Home featuring Nikky Finney

Monsters and Memory

Shige talking about Comic Books and Alternative Narratives

Writing and Healing with Ed Madden

The Watering Hole Poetry

Superstars of Southern Fiction

Poets Respond to Race

A Brilliant “X Marks the Spot” Literary Themed Dinner by Scott Hall

Storyboard America

Eating and Greeting with the Deckle Edge Authors

A full Roster of Workshops

Free S.T.E.A.M. Workshop for Kids

Shakespeare for the Family

Writing Video Games with Richard Dansky


oh, and about your mom

Just in case you have one of those book club moms (some say “book” club, others say “wine” club — they aren’t fooling anybody!), DE has put together a Sunday afternoon event honoring and celebrating the area’s book clubs by bringing us all together to swap ideas, share programming innovations, and discover new books to add to our ever-expanding lists. TheDeckle Edge Book Club Tea promises to be a big old mess of book-crazy men and women chatting each other up, grabbing autographs from a few surprise authors, and sipping their tea in a take-home-with-you souvenir Deckle Edge mug.

We told you we had her covered.


For more info on Deckle Edge, coming this Friday – Sunday, February 19-21, visit the website, check out events on social media, and pick up a copy of this weeks Free Times which will contain a full listing of festival events.



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