U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will headline The Carson McCullers Literary Festival February 21-22 on the Main Stage of the Riverside Theatre Complex in downtown Columbus, Georgia.
The Carson McCullers Literary Festival is a biennial event offering readings and master classes by acclaimed writers and poets and a celebration of student writers—both Georgia high school students and students of Columbus State University. These students are recognized for their work in the Carson McCullers Literary Awards Ceremony, which closes out this year’s festival on Saturday, February 22, at 12:30 p.m.
Joy Harjo is the first-ever Native American writer to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate, a post she was named to in July of 2019. Her reading and master class are co-presented by the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians and the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries. Harjo’s book How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 is the common read for patrons of Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, which received a grant through the NEA’s Big Read program to help support her appearances in Columbus. Her reading and master class are free and open to the public.
The festival will also feature readings and master classes by award-winning novelist, essayist and story writer Melissa Pritchard and by award-winning poet and Berry College professor Sandy Meek.
Director of the Carson McCullers Center Nick Norwood says, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Joy Harjo as our headliner this year. She has been a major American writer for some time and we feel she will be a great inspiration to all student and adult writers and readers who attend these events.”
For more on Carson McCullers’ hometown of Columbus, click here.
Here is the full festival schedule:
Friday, February 21
7-7:30 p.m.: Reception, first-floor lobby, Riverside Theatre Complex
7:30-9 p.m: Reading & booksigning by Joy Harjo, Main Stage, Riverside Theatre Complex
9-10 p.m.: Poetry Slam conducted by Slam Champion Jonathan S.E. Perkins
Saturday, February 22
8:30-9 a.m.: Reception, first-floor lobby, Riverside Theatre Complex
9-9:45 a.m.: Master Class in Fiction with Melissa Pritchard, Corn Center Critique, room 1; Master Class in Poetry with Sandy Meek, Corn Center Critique, room 2
9:45-10 a.m.: Break for refreshments, first-floor lobby, Riverside Theatre Complex
10-10:45 a.m.: Master Class in Creative Writing with Joy Harjo, Main Stage, Riverside Theatre Complex
10:45-11 a.m.: Break for refreshments, first-floor lobby, Riverside Theatre Complex
11 a.m. -noon: Readings & booksignings by Melissa Pritchard and Sandy Meek, Main Stage, Riverside Theatre Complex
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Carson McCullers Literary Awards Ceremony, Main Stage, Riverside Theatre Complex