Charleston Literary Festival Sparks a ‘Writing Revolution’ With Young Writers Awards

(EZ Newswire)

CHARLESTON, SC -- Igniting a literary revolution among teens sounds like a fantastic idea to the team at Charleston Literary Festival, and they are turning this dream into a reality by launching the Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards. The initiative encourages and amplifies creative growth and expression among high school students across Charleston, SC, through prose and writing.

The Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards serve as a stepping stone for young writers toward careers in the literary arts and those looking to hone their craft while finding new ways to express themselves through the written word. It aims to demonstrate to these talented individuals that their voices are valuable and their unique perspectives can contribute to the broader literary community. In alignment with the Festival's core mission to foster emerging voices, all public high school students in grades 10 to 12 are/were invited to participate.

Jennifer Chestnut Comer, the architect and director of the Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards, is an experienced advocate and creator of youth initiatives that have proven essential to the health and resiliency of the arts and culture sector. She shares her enthusiasm for the program:

"We believe in the power of storytelling and literature to shape lives. By providing a platform for young writers to express themselves, we are nurturing their creative potential and celebrating the transformative power of the written word. In honoring their voices, we contribute to the longevity of the Charleston literary scene by seeding the next generation of bibliophiles while empowering these talented individuals."

Research has shown that writing fosters critical thinking skills, enhances communication abilities, and nurtures emotional intelligence in young individuals. The Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards aims to instill a love for literature while providing a supportive environment for teenagers to explore writing skills. The awards aim to spark curiosity and drive creative growth by encouraging students to explore their personal voices at a time when many are grappling with their place in the world. 

As a collective effort to give back to the community, The Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards also aims to establish a comprehensive support system for Charleston teachers and students. Future plans include providing professional development opportunities featuring festival authors, scholarships, and fellowships for young writers, hosting teen writing workshops, and providing educational resources. By investing in the next generation of wordsmiths, the Festival hopes to cultivate an enduring literary community that supports and nurtures aspiring writers throughout their journey.

“This young writer's initiative is important to students for the opportunity to flex. Engaging with those highly experienced and expert in the fields of writing and interpreting stories reinforces their developing constructs of knowledge, conviction, and trust in the context of their own lives. Their stories center the nature of the human experience today and will do so a hundred years from now,” added Cassie Keene, English Teacher at Burke High School. 

The awards' inaugural year has seen enthusiastic participation from local public high schools, with over 60% signing on over 400 students, with 51 students gaining the opportunity to have their work scored by a panel of literary professionals in a blind review process. Award winners will be notified by the third week of October and receive cash prizes and recognition for their achievements. Winners also have their work showcased online, offering them added exposure and networking opportunities with acclaimed authors. Additionally, thanks to the generous contribution from Buxton Books, winners will have the opportunity to continue to build their personal libraries.

"I am truly so excited to be a part of the Charleston Literary Festival's Young Writers Awards! This kind of initiative is so invaluable to young people like the ones I teach. This chance for kids to be able to show off and be celebrated is huge. I cannot tell you all how excited some of these kids were at the chance to be published," said N. Aubrey Moore, English Department at Wando High School.

The 2023 Adjudication Panel for the Charleston Literary Festival includes esteemed individuals such as Dr. Tamara Butler, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center and Associate Dean at the College of Charleston Libraries; Harlan Greene, Award-winning Writer, Historian, and Outreach Archivist at the College of Charleston; Victor Young, Director of ALL4SC at the University of South Carolina and board member of multiple organizations; Natalie C. Hauff, Deputy Director of the Charleston County Public Library, Board Chair of My Sister's House, and former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; and Asiah Mae, Poet Laureate of Charleston and accomplished writer, producer, performing poet, community curator, and organizer.

The Charleston Literary Festival Young Writers Awards aims to enable all students to become proficient writers, readers, and critical thinkers by igniting a 'Writing Revolution,' fostering the voices of emerging writers, and encouraging dialogues stirred up by literature. The awards clearly reflect the Festival's commitment to amplifying the voices and viewpoints of our local youth through writing.

Charleston Literary Festival runs November 3–12, 2023, in Charleston, SC.

Program details and tickets are available at

About Charleston Literary Festival

Charleston Literary Festival is a boutique literary festival that runs every November for ten days in Charleston, South Carolina. With roots in the Charleston House in the UK—home of the radical writers, artists, and thinkers of the Bloomsbury Group—Charleston Literary Festival is committed to maintaining an international perspective while building up and giving back to the local community on which it is built. Founded in 2017, we specialize in high-quality Festival events that create perspective-altering conversations with world-renowned authors and thinkers. Charleston Literary Festival’s distinctive international ethos allows attendees to engage with renowned authors in unique settings and contribute to conversations around outstanding books and ideas.

The Festival’s programming is carefully curated based on literary and artistic excellence, originality, and critical acclaim. The Festival has established a reputation for presenting exceptional speakers from diverse backgrounds in intimate venues. Pulitzer, Booker, and Nobel Prize-winners take the stage for unscripted conversations—then meet and sign books for the audience immediately after the sessions. Speakers and attendees return year after year to experience the Festival’s unrivaled hospitality and social events. Charleston Literary Festival is committed to offering a diverse program of events regarding speakers and topics, reaching out to all communities, and initiatives that widen access to its programs.

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SOURCE: Charleston Literary Festival

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