Columbus State to host Southern Literary Festival

Tim O'Brien COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s creative writing program and its Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians will host the Southern Literary Festival from March 28-30.

U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey and author Tim O’Brien headline the 76-year-old festival, which is expected to attract more than 200 literature lovers, aspiring writers, English faculty and students from throughout the Southeast. O’Brien’s 1990 collection of fictional stories about a platoon during the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried, has enjoyed a rebirth in Columbus as this school year’s common reading for CSU’s First Year Experience Program, sparking a year-long Vietnam War retrospective. The book, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is also the 2013 Big Read selection of the Columbus Library.


"We’re happy to be part of the long tradition of hosting the Southern Literary Festival," said Nick Norwood, a CSU English professor. "We feel very privileged to bring to Columbus the current poet laureate (Trethewey) and a writer with worldwide acclaim in Tim O’Brien, whose work speaks to many in the Columbus community who are veterans of foreign wars (and) in the military currently."

Fiction writer Kevin Wilson, poet Daniel Albergotti and nonfiction writer Madge McKeithen also will give readings at the festival. Wilson is the author of an award-winning story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, and New York Times best-seller The Family Fang. Albergotti’s The Boatlands won the 2007 A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize. McKeithen’s essay, "What Really Happens," was featured in Best American Essays (2011).

The Southern Literary Festival is among 10 major 2013 events featured on the Southern Literary Trail, which highlights destinations in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi where lovers of Southern literature can travel, including the homes and haunts of authors. In addition to readings by the authors, the Southern Literary Festival features a series of writing workshops.

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Photo: Tim O'Brien, 2012. Photo by Larry D. Moore.