Literary festival launches in Bluffton

Around Town


When well-respected publishing industry veteran Rockelle Henderson moved from New York City to Bluffton, she instantly became enamored with the Lowcountry. After spending more than 25 years crafting blockbuster marketing campaigns for national best-sellers, including “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “State of Fear;” the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Known World” and others, she was excited to trade her time in the big city for a more relaxed pace. However, the change of scenery didn’t diminish her love of all things literary and her commitment to supporting worthy causes. Those passions will come together at the inaugural Bluffton Book Festival on Nov. 18-19.

The festival will spotlight and bring awareness to local and national literary talent ranging from first-time authors to those who are more prolific. A portion of the proceeds from the two-day event will benefit two nonprofit organizations: The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) and The Literacy Center – both of which support literacy, education, reading, authors, book-selling and the publishing community.

Kicking off the festival will be a VIP fundraiser on the evening of Friday, Nov. 18. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, authors will speak and offer signed copies of their books for sale. There also will be face-painting and story time for children, and food and wares will be available from local vendors. Various raffles will offer the chance to win books, vacations and other prizes.

Among the literary talent scheduled to appear at the Bluffton Book Festival are international and The New York Times best-selling authors Sarah Pekkanen, Denene Millner and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Chiles, as well as award-winning authors Stephanie Austin Edwards and William C. Walker.  In addition, autographed books by film and television actors Eriq La Salle, known for his roles in “ER,” “Coming to America” and “Under the Dome,” and Taraji P. Henson of “Empire,” “Person of Interest” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” will be available.

“I am excited to bring the Bluffton Book Festival to life. Books, reading, and all things related to such are near and dear to my heart,” Henderson said. “With the help of The Literacy Center, thousands of adults and children have been equipped with reading and writing skills; and through the Binc Foundation, booksellers are provided with financial support for medical bills, domestic violence situations and more. Their work helps to pass on better futures to the next generation, and it is my honor to work with them.  With participants attending from next door to 3,000 miles away, I’m looking forward to a great event, and meeting as many people as I can.”

The nonprofit organizations feel the same way.

“The Literacy Center is excited to participate in the inaugural Bluffton Book Festival,” said executive director Pam Wall. “We strongly believe that the ability to read opens many doors. Our Family Literacy 360 program is based on families reading together and the opportunity that provides to make families stronger. Reading is truly a gift.”

"Binc is honored to be named as a benefactor of the first Bluffton Book Festival," said executive director Pamela French. “The festival aligns with our mission to strengthen the book-selling community and reinforces the importance of helping local businesses thrive. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Binc Foundation and the thousands of booksellers who have been helped, we greatly appreciate the support from the Bluffton community. And sincerely thank Rockelle Henderson for including us in this exciting event."

For more information about the festival, including how to become a sponsor or an exhibitor, please visit or call 843-707-6409.


What: Bluffton Book Festival
When: Nov. 18-19
Where: Calhoun Street, Bluffton
More info: