Get Ready to Embrace the Conversation: Charleston Literary Festival Releases the First Author List Along with Early Bird Tickets

(EZ Newswire)

CHARLESTON, SC -- Following a record-breaking year in 2022, Charleston Literary Festival, running from November 3rd to 12th, announces its return with an impressive first list of world-class authors as well as Early Bird tickets on sale. The annual Festival provides a platform to experience the power of storytelling through live author sessions, lively Q&As, and book signings.

This year's line-up includes marquee names such as visionary writer Margaret Atwood, Irish literary superstar Claire Keegan, British journalist Gary Younge, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, the New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik, award-winning storyteller Rebecca Makkai, and admired writer Lorrie Moore. In addition, acclaimed poet and memoirist Safiya Sinclair, distinguished historian Sir Simon Schama, revelatory museum-guard-cum-author Patrick Bringley, and respected biographer Jonathan Eig will attend, promising attendees in-depth dialogues and discussions. 

"Encouraging people to embrace conversations is at the heart of what we do at Charleston Literary Festival, and the response from Charleston, our regional neighbors, and from major cities in the US and abroad has been overwhelming. We are taking it up a few notches this year, with even more sessions featuring over 30 world-class authors. We expect it to be our most exciting and ambitious year yet," said Sarah Moriarty, the Festival’s Executive Director.

Committed to facilitating open conversations and spirited debate, the Festival emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives and the free exchange of ideas. This is particularly significant in light of growing concerns about book banning and limits on freedom of expression. 

"Charleston is a city that both values and interrogates its heritage as well as embracing the evolving voices of today. Thanks to our great community partners like our academic partner College of Charleston and our bookseller Buxton Books, we foster a community of diverse voices ready to explore, confront, and embrace big ideas that speak to the realities of our past and the aspirations of our future," Moriarty added.


Margaret Atwood on Old Babes In The Woods: Stories

NPR calls Atwood one of the greatest novelists alive; the Canadian author, best known for her bestselling phenomenon The Handmaid’s Tale, is also an acclaimed short story writer. She joins us to talk about her latest collection that contains reflections on marriage, mortality and human foibles, dedicated to her late partner. Note: this will be a virtual event.

Patrick Bringley on All The Beauty In The World

Patrick Bringley, a former New Yorker staffer with ten years of experience as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His book, All The Beauty In the World, is a memoir exploring the transformative power of art and its ability to inspire and heal. “All the Beauty In the World is a memoir about people from all walks of life engaging with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I worked for a decade as a guard,” says Patrick Bringley, “I’ll be honored to meet book lovers in Charleston who similarly invest their hearts and souls in diverse and beautiful stories and ideas.”  

Jonathan Eig on King

PEN American Literary Award winner known for his deep-dive biographies and non-fiction works, Eig’s book, King, is a compelling exploration into the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., that explores King's rise to prominence, the challenges he faced, and his immense impact on society. Through Eig's exceptional storytelling, readers gain fresh perspectives on King's extraordinary journey and a deeper understanding of his influential role in history.

Richard Ford on Be Mine

Pulitzer Prize-winning Ford, known for his insightful exploration of American life, presents his latest book, Be Mine. In this final and decisive Frank Bascombe novel, Ford deep-dives into the subjects of mortality, interweaving elements of sorrow, resilience, and the quest for happiness at the end of life's journey. In anticipation of his visit to Charleston Literary Festival, Richard Ford says, “Novels, stories, poems—probably art in all its displays—thrive by being useful to its readers, spectators, participants. It invites us to have a vital conversation with it—which inevitably means it permits, sometimes goads us, to disagree with it to its benefit and to our own... We can ask: "Is any part of this true?" And then we can answer. This is the "free" part of a free exchange of ideas.”

Claire Keegan on Small Things Like These

Generation-defining Irish novelist and short story writer whose work was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize in 2022, Small Things Like These is a poignant novel that explores abuses of power and everyday acts of kindness.  Her short story Foster was adapted into a film—The Quiet Girl—and nominated for an Academy Award in 2023. Further, Small Things Like These is currently being adapted into a film produced by and starring Irish actor Cillian Murphy. 

Adam Gopnik on The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery

Celebrated writer, art critic, and food critic, and a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Gopnik’s book, The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery, is a profound study into the pursuit of mastering new skills, offering readers insights and guidance for embracing challenges and unlocking their full potential.

Sir Simon Schama on Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines, and the Health of Nations

Renowned British historian and broadcaster Sir Simon Schama is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University. His latest book, Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines, and the Health of Nations, is a non-fiction exploration of the connections between history, culture, and the human experience reflected in the concept of bodies. “Foreign Bodies was written as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasingly inescapable conclusion that, as the book says at the outset, ‘in the end all history is natural history,’” says Simon Schama, “It embodies the paradox of our time—that humans are, at one and the same time capable of breathtaking feats of applied knowledge and the primitive fears which frustrate their realization." 

Rebecca Makkai on I Have Some Questions For You

A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist for her novel The Great Believers, Makkai is known for her intricate storytelling and profound literary works. Her newest book, I Have Some Questions for You, explores a woman's journey into her past, uncovering a murder mystery that has haunted her for years. 

Lorrie Moore on I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home

From the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and recipient of a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story, Lorrie Moore’s book, I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home is a daring, meditative exploration of love, death, and the past, incorporating historical flashbacks, reflections on modern issues, and a journey into a tragicomic landscape. 

Gary Younge on Dispatches from the Diaspora

Younge, Orwell Award-winning author, broadcaster, and Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester in England, was The Guardian US Correspondent 2003-2015 and is a key contributor to “Cotton Capital”—The Guardian newspaper’s exploration of its ties to the distressing history of slavery. In his latest book, Dispatches from the Diaspora, he creates a collection of essays and observations examining the intricacies of identity, politics, and culture within the global African diaspora. 

Safiya Sinclair on How to Say Babylon

Sinclair is a Jamaican-born award-winning poet known for her thought-provoking work on identity, culture, and history. She holds an MFA from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Arizona State University. In this memoir, she writes a captivating text examining self, history, and displacement. “How To Say Babylon is a narrative marvel, the testimony of an artist who literally writes her way out of a life of repression, isolation and abuse into one of art, freedom, love and wonder,” writes Marlon James.


Get your Early Bird All-Session Access Pass for Charleston Literary Festival, November 3-12, 2023, in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The pass, available in limited number, costs $525 and includes a ticket to the Opening Night Party and access to all 30+ festival sessions. A limited number of Early Bird Packages are on sale now, with complete programming, author list, and schedules to be released on in September 2023.

Embrace the cultural renaissance in Charleston while attending the Festival. Sessions will be held at the historic venues: The Circular Congregational Church, founded in 1681, and the Dock Street Theatre, the first dedicated theater structure in America, opened in 1736. Positioned among galleries and museums, music venues, James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurants, and inviting rooftop bars, these venues reflect the city's diverse working arts and culture scene.

Visit our Charleston Visitor Bureau partner at to begin planning your trip with recommended lodging, dining and nightlife, and local attractions. Donors and sponsors of the Festival are invited to exclusive private dinners and events: to become a sponsor, visit To get a start on your reading list, visit your local independent bookstore or our official bookseller, Buxton Books. Stay connected by following @CharlestonLitFest on social media and joining the newsletter for updates.


The opening party, aptly named "Books with a Bang!" is proudly sponsored by TNT Fireworks, America’s bestselling brand of fireworks, and will take place on Saturday, November 4th, on the picturesque campus of the College of Charleston, the Festival’s returning Official Academic Partner. The event sets the stage for the festival's 10-day program, reflecting the transformative power of gathering people in one place with a shared passion. Guests can expect live music, award-winning cuisine, and a new poem commissioned by the Festival from Charleston Poet Laureate Asiah Mae


While Charleston, South Carolina, has a strong, evocative, historical past, it is equally a vibrant, evolving hub of contemporary culture, making it a top destination for arts and culture. Charleston Literary Festival, a stand-out event in the city's Fall cultural calendar, encapsulates this evolution. Far more than a fleeting weekend, the Festival is a powerful magnet for top minds from across the literary landscape. Through dynamic gatherings, the Festival weaves the city's complex and sometimes troubled historical narrative with innovative literary dialogues—infusing the cobblestone walks with lively voices and fresh, diverse cultural perspectives.


Plan Your Trip: Start preparing for the festival by securing your accommodations and making travel arrangements for a smooth, stress-free experience.

  • Book Ends - Catch the festival on both or one of our weekends.
  • Short Story - Dip in for a few sessions or just one.
  • The Full Monty - Immerse yourself alongside our crew of regulars, newcomers, authors, and more as we explore together.

Where to Get Your Books

As the official bookseller of the Charleston Literary Festival, Buxton Books, an independent, bookstore located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, known for its creative collaborations and vibrant event schedule, is the go-to destination for preparing for this year's event, offering an extensive collection of the Festival books and authors. Visit their dedicated site at to begin Festival planning.

Spread the Word

Share the excitement with fellow book lovers and encourage your book club and local bookstores to join the literary adventure with us. We will offer book clubs and independent booksellers a special CLF Presents...program that features videos of past award-winning authors, discussion guides, and even a few Charleston recipes as a part of our pre-Festival ramp-up. Contact us at if you are interested.

Festival Dates: November 3–12, 2023

Location/Venues: Charleston, SC. Live events are presented in notable venues in the historic downtown area, including the historic Dock Street Theatre and Circular Congregational Church. All events are within walking distance of local amenities such as boutique hotels, great shopping, and plentiful restaurants.

  • Circular Congregational Church was established in 1681 and has been inextricably attached to the history of the city around it.
  • Dock Street Theatre opened in 1736, is an iconic landmark with the profound historical significance of being the first structure in America built expressly for theatrical performance.

Ticket Sales: A limited number of Early Bird All-Session Access Passes are available now for a restricted period. Details for tickets and the complete programming list and schedule will be released in early September 2023.

Website: Visit for more information.

Announcements: Sign up for the Festival's newsletter at for the latest news and updates.

Plan Your Trip: Discover Charleston's heart and soul as you #ExploreCharleston while you Embrace the Conversation! Flavors, sights, sounds, and new traditions await exploring. Visit for more information.

Support the Festival: Festival donors make it possible to broaden event access to students and others through free and reduced-price tickets while also receiving exclusive access to events and tickets. Visit to become a sponsor.

Find Us on Social Media: Follow @CharlestonLitFest on Instagram, Facebook, Threads, and Twitter.

Our Official Academic Partner: The College of Charleston, a nationally recognized liberal arts and sciences university based in Charleston, SC, is partnering with Charleston Literary Festival for the third consecutive year. This collaboration fosters connections between students, staff, and the authors in conversation. For more information, visit:

About Charleston Literary Festival

Charleston Literary Festival is a boutique international literary festival held in Charleston, South Carolina, every November. Over ten days, world-renowned writers and dedicated readers come together to explore and discuss some of our time's most pressing issues and ideas. By connecting readers and thinkers with a wide range of quality speakers, the Festival promotes the power of excellent writing, ideas, and creativity. An independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, now in its seventh year, previous attendees include Brit Bennet, Geraldine Brooks, Tina Brown, Hernan Diaz, Eddie Glaude, Yaa Gyasi, Patrick Radden Keefe, Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates, Imani Perry, George Saunders, Colm Tóibín, and Jeannette Winterson. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Sterling Eason, Eason Creative Studio
Phone: 843-300-8879


SOURCE: Charleston Literary Festival

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