Charleston’s Literary Life

Liz West
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The lowcountry and its natural resources have shaped the lives of those who have lived here for centuries. This fact, combined with a rich history of storytelling, has produced literary masterpieces that perfectly describe outdoor life in the lowcountry. These stories inspire readers to get outside and explore what the Carolina coast has to offer. Here are a few of RootsRated’s favorite Carolina authors, and why their work is so inspiring.

Pat Conroy

When one thinks about Charleston authors, Pat Conroy is usually the first name that comes to mind. His work contains vivid descriptions of the various landscapes found around Charleston, and his characters live and thrive off what these landscapes have to offer. You simply can't read Conroy and not feel inspired to visit the lowcountry's beaches, marshes, and creeks.

Shem Creek
Shem Creek Lauren Nelson

Books to read: Prince of Tides, Beach Music, South of Broad, and The Lords of Discipline


Ron Rash

Ron Rash is known for his coverage of life in the Appalachian region of the Carolinas. His work is sculpted by his immense and intimate knowledge of a region, which has largely remained wild and remote in an otherwise developed part of the country. His poems, short stories, and novels reflect how life in Appalachia can be hard, yet beautiful.

Chattooga River
Chattooga River ChattOconeeNF

Books to read: One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, Serena


Archibald Rutledge

A native of Mcclellanville, South Carolina, Rutledge is known for his outdoor writing and his love for hunting and exploring in the lowcountry. His work contains graphic descriptions of plantation life and the beautiful area that he so proudly called home. His work is the product of living in a region of South Carolina that few understand, but many appreciate. His love of life and nature does not go unnoticed.

Appalachian Farmstead
Appalachian Farmstead Ian Sane

Books to read: The Banners of the Coast, Under the Pines, Wild Life of the South


In Charleston, Blue Bicycle Books will have all of your southern literary needs covered. They offer a wide selection of southern classics as well as novels from up and coming authors. Visit their location on King Street to check out all that they have in store.

The Southeast has a knack for championing its writers, old and new. There are plenty of resources around the web to help you learn more about Southern outdoor Literature, and help you along your own path to becoming a writer. Here is a list of organizations renowned for providing invaluable information on some of the South’s favorite authors.

Lowcountry Writers’ Retreat:

Southern Literature Alliance:

Southern Literary Journal:

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