Most Americans are familiar with Charleston, South Carolina, the historic seaport city famed for its well-preserved homes, nearby beaches and scenic attractions, diverse annual events, and great restaurants. Many are also familiar with the Charleston Library Society and its grand building located in the heart of the Historic District. The society is the oldest cultural organization in the South and the second oldest circulation library in the United States. It is dedicated to supporting a culture of lifelong learning and is home to some of the oldest and most important historical documents in the South.
Too few Americans are familiar with another Charleston, in Sussex, England, now a unique museum which attracts worldwide visitors. There, another event has gained worldwide fame: the annual Charleston Festival at Charleston Farmhouse. The Farmhouse, in the pastoral setting of the rolling South Downs of Sussex, was the home of cultural icons Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and became the rural sanctuary of the famed Bloomsbury Group of writers, artists, and intellectuals, including Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and E.M. Forster, among many, many others. The event has grown over its 28-year history and is noted as the top small literary festival in Europe.
In November 2017, Charleston (England) joined creative forces with Charleston (South Carolina) to produce the first annual Charleston to Charleston (C2C) Literary Festival. Blending notable international authors and diplomats with lauded American artists and historians, the inaugural festival spanned four days and nights full of stimulating speaker conversations, a movie screening, and celebratory receptions. Speakers included Booker Prize winning poet/novelist Ben Okri; British journalist Miranda Sawyer; British novelist Jeanette Winterson; American artist and activist Jonathan Green; American historian Marjorie Spruill; and many, many others. Click here for more information on our 2017 Speakers.
Visitors to the 2017 festival called it "Fabulous, inspiring and magical, especially for Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf fans." They called it "Fantastic! I can't believe this occurred," and they said, "We enjoyed every minute of Charleston to Charleston and look forward to many more."
The festival is coordinated by Charleston to Charleston, Inc., a nonprofit 501(C)3 corporation organized by the Charleston Trust in Sussex and the Charleston Library Society in South Carolina. The festival was announced in January 2017, in a series of events featuring Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey.
A partnership born of a shared love of books, learning and creativity means that here, at the Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival, those life-enhancing ideals truly will flourish.