November 7, 2023

FMU to host 2023 Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival

FMU to host 2023 Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival

Francis Marion will host the 16th Annual Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival on November 9-10.


This year’s guests include Grady Hendrix, Deesha Philyaw, Tiana Clark, and Jon Tuttle.


The two-day festival celebrates and promotes literature and reading and features panel discussions, lectures, book signings and more from four renowned authors. Events are free and open to the public and will be held in Lowrimore Auditorium on FMU’s main campus.


Grady Hendrix is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Sell a Haunted House, The Final Girl Support Group, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, and many others. His history of the horror paperback boom of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Paperbacks from Hell, won the Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction and his latest non-fiction book, These Fists Break Bricks, is a heavily illustrated history of the kung fu boom in America during the ‘70s and ‘80s.


Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Price, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a Baldwin for the Arts Fellow. Her debut novel, The True Confessions of First Lady Freeman, is forthcoming from Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, in 2025.


Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood, winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium. Tiana teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters. She is also the Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College. Her next two books, Scorched Earth, a poetry collection, and Begging to be Saved, a memoir, are forthcoming with Atria.


Jon Tuttle will retire from Francis Marion in August 2024 as Distinguished Professor, Director of University Honors, Nellie Cooke Sparrow Write-in-Residence, and an FMU Trustees Research Scholar. He has received the South Carolina’s Governor’s Award in the Humanities and both the Founders Award and Lifetime Service Award from the South Carolina Theater Association, and has served on the boards of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance, and the Jasper Project. For many years, he was the Playwright-in-Residence and Literary Manager at Trustus Theater in Columbia, SC, and is the author of The Trustus Collection, Two South Carolina Plays, and about a dozen individually published plays. He is also editor of South Carolina Onstage and David Kranes: Selected Plays.


The Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival began in 2006 and is coordinated by FMU’s English faculty. 


For a full schedule and additional information about the November 9-10 event, visit