Honoring the literary legacy of South Carolina’s only Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Gamechanger: The Life and Writing of Julia Mood Peterkin is a free public program presented by poet Ann-Chadwell Humphries on behalf of the South Carolina Humanities Speakers Bureau. This event will be presented at the Beaufort branch of the Beaufort County Library (311 Scott Street), in partnership with the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, on Thursday, September 22, at 4:30 p.m.
Julia Peterkin (October 31, 1880 – August 10, 1961) was a white woman who wrote about Gullah people living on her family’s plantation out of a desire to honor and preserve their culture. She was shunned by white Southerners for “betraying her race” but became accepted by Harlem Renaissance writers, such as Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois. Regardless of criticism, she continued writing, and became one of the earliest women to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1929; to this day she is still South Carolina’s only Pulitzer Prize Winner. This presentation aims to shed a light on Peterkin, a powerful, educated woman who started chasing her dreams of writing at age 40; the audience will learn about what inspired her, what made her so highly debated, and what happens to a woman’s legacy when she is just as rebellious and fiery as the bright red hair growing from her head.
The program is hosted by the Pat Conroy Literary Center and sponsored by South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage.
About our presenter: As a girl in rural Texas, Ann-Chadwell Humphries competed in poetry
recitation. After retirement, she took community writing classes, then graduate poetry classes at UofSC, and online classes with the University of Iowa, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Hadley Institute for the Blind. Last year, Muddy Ford Press selected Ann as the second in their Laureate series to publish her first book of poetry, An Eclipse and a Butcher. Winner of poetry contests, awards, and scholarships, Ann regularly has work published everywhere from literary journals to city buses. A rogue gene, retinitis pigmentosa, gradually diminished her peripheral vision to a pinpoint, but Ann sees with more than her eyes—she sees with her whole being. Ann reads and writes using assistive technology. She has been designated a Notable Woman of South Carolina by UofSC’s Special Collections Library, who is currently in the process of archiving her poetry papers.