Reading Matters

Literary awakening in Spartanburg inspired Hub City Writers Project

Here’s a success story that makes me green.

Why can’t what happened in Spartanburg, S.C., happen here in Charlotte?

The idea for the very successful Hub City Writers Project began 20 years ago with three people brainstorming in a coffee shop, jotting their ideas on paper napkins.

What they wanted -- what they dreamed of -- was, according to Spartanburg Magazine -- “a literary awakening that would preserve the essence of a town poised for creative growth.”

(Is Charlotte poised for creative growth? I think so. But where’s our catalyst for a literaray awakening?)

And the three orginators? Betsy Teter, a former journalist who now serves as the Project’s executive director; Teter’s husband John Lane, a Wofford poet, and journalist Gary Henderson, who now lives in Costa Rica.

OK. And the components of this non-profit organization that has now published 70 books with 700 writers?

Publishing. Programs. An independent bookstore, which did not materialize until 2010.

The intangible -- or maybe it’s more tangible than we imagine -- is community support. And for some reason, Spartanburg has it. And, for the most part, Charlotte does not. At least, the support is not very centralized.

The Project’s first publication in 1996, The Hub City Anthology, which included poetry and fiction by area writers, sold an astounding 600 copies in one day!

Over the 20 years, some of the writers Hub City has published include novelist and poet Ron Rash and novelists James E. McTeer II and Jon Sealy.

The weekend of May 8-10, there will be a 20-year celebration of the Project with a literary crawl, a street party on West Main in front of Hub City Bookshop and, on Sunday, a benefit brunch for The Writers House Residency Program.

Tickets: 864-577-9349.