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 It is dedicated to supporting a culture of lifelong learning and is home to some of the oldest and most important historical documents in the South.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 30-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. This was followed up in 2018 with the second festival, including more enlightening discussions, challenging ideas, and, of course, elegant receptions allowing speakers, staff, donors and guests to mingle and enjoy unique Charleston locations.
The list of past speakers is distinguished and includes diplomats and historians, bestselling authors and journalists at the peak of their careers.
Now an annual event, a highlight of autumn in the South, the biggest question remains: who will grace the stages of the Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival next? And will you be there to see it?
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.