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S.C. Arts Commission Press Releases

Poet Nikky Finney to present keynote at Statewide Arts Conference


July 10, 2014

Media Contact:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

COLUMBIA, S.C. – National Book Award-winning poet and South Carolina native Nikky Finney will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Arts Commission's biennial Statewide Arts Conference Sept. 18, taking place at the Columbia Conference Center.


In 2013, after 20 years of teaching at the University of Kentucky, Finney returned to her home state to accept an appointment as The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina.


Finney was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry for her book Head Off & Split (2011). Her acceptance speech electrified the literary community and prompted the ceremony's emcee, actor John Lithgow, to proclaim, "That's the best acceptance for anything I've ever heard in my life."


"We are very honored that Nikky Finney has agreed to join us at the conference," said S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. "Conference participants are in for a throught-provoking, inspiring keynote."


Finney has authored three additional books of poetry: The World Is Round (2003), Rice (1995), and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets.


With the theme of "Change -- acknowledge, anticipate, adapt," the Statewide Arts Conference offers sessions of interest to artists, arts organizations and community partners. Early bird registration is $78 per person through July 31. For more information or to register, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com/statewide.


For more information about S.C. Arts Commission programs and services, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.


About the S.C. Arts Commission:

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.