Dr. Hill and students
Wofford professor earns USC Union award

By Jenny Arnold
 Published: Monday, February 16, 2015

John LaneA local writer and Wofford College professor is receiving an award during USC Union's fifth annual Upcountry Literary Festival.

John Lane will receive the Allan D. Charles Award for non-fiction for his piece, “My Paddle to the Sea,” about his trip crossing South Carolina by canoe. The work details Lane's more than 300-mile journey, which started in a Spartanburg creek near his home, continued down the Broad River, crossed Lake Marion and reached the ocean through the Santee.

Lane, an environmental studies professor and director of Wofford's Goodall Environmental Studies Center, said he considers it an honor to receive the award. He has attended the festival before, having read “My Paddle to the Sea“ during the event, and was impressed by the community support for the two-day festival.

“Union County is quite wild and beautiful - it's a place apart,” Lane said. “The festival seems intent on preserving a conversation about all aspects of our literary past, present, and future, and that is important. The well-paced program offers a lively and comfortable forum. I look forward to receiving (the award) and visiting with the other participants of the festival.”

The keynote speaker for this year's festival is Duke University English professor and poet James Applewhite.

Applewhite has served more than 30 years at Duke University as an instructor, professor and presently as professor emeritus, USC Union literature instructor Randy Ivey said. Applewhite has published numerous poetry collections dating back to 1975 with his first compilation, “Statues of the Grass.”

His published work includes eight books of poetry, essays and articles in literary journals, and volumes of critical essays.

The USC Union Upcountry Literary Festival's theme for 2015 is, “Five going on 50,” a nod to the festival's fifth anniversary and the university's 50th year, Ivey said. Guests include poets, novelists and musicians. The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 20 and 9 to 5 p.m. March 21 at the USC Union Auditorium.

Festival organizers have partnered with the Union County Arts Council to cohost an open mic night at 8 p.m. March 20 as part of the event.

In addition to Applewhite and Lane, other guests appearing this year are North Carolina poet laureate Shelby Stephenson, storyteller Tally Johnson, poet Ray McManus, USC Upstate's Thomas McConnell and musicians Fayssoux McLean, Freddie Vanderford, Brandon Turner and more, Ivey said.

“The attendance is getting better and it seems like every year, the program gets bigger,” said Ivey, a festival founder.

Ivey said five years ago, he and others wanted to come up with an event that would bring visitors to USC Union.

“It's a beautiful campus that some people don't even know exists,” Ivey said. “We wanted to highlight this treasure and show we have something here. I also wanted to emphasize books and the value of the written word. I wanted this festival to be a reminder that books are important and that good poetry and literature is accessible.”

Admission to the festival is free. To support the effort, USC Union is having a chicken stew sale Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Main Building lobby. The Union County Shrine Club is making 82 quarts of stew for the event, which cost $6 each.

To reserve a quart, call 864-424-8055864-424-8055.

For more information about the festival, call Ivey at 864-424-8057864-424-8057 or find it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/upcountryliteraryfestival.

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