Novelist. Poet. Gravedigger.


“Performing poetry is like skinny dipping with strangers"


Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). They are also the author of the poetry chapbook "Skinny Dipping with Strangers" (2013).

They co-founded and organize The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an independent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. They are the current President.

They are on the Executive Board of Free Verse, the Charleston Poetry Festival. They are also serving on the 2018 Poetry Society of South Carolina Board as a Member-At-Large. They arethe editor of Good Juju Review, an anthology of Lowcountry poets. They are also the co-host of the Contribute Your Verse Podcast.

Their work has been featured in The Post and Courier, The Aiken Standard, Verge, The Charleston City Paper, Charleston Grit, Charleston Currents,  The Echo Chamber, Indie Scoop, and other news venues. As founder of The Unspoken Word, he has worked alongside the Charleston Music Hall to produce Word Perfect (2014) and the MUSC Alliance for Equality to produce Speak Up: Poetry and Dialogue on Social Justice (2016).

Their poems & short stories can be found in The Water This Time: Anthology on Sea Level Rise in Charleston, BOAAT Journal, Pidgeonholes, Yemassee, Gigantic Sequins, Open Minds Quarterly, Glint Journal, museum of americana, Ki'n, Kakalak, Fall Lines, Lemonstar Magazine, armarolla Rabid Oak, The Comet Poems Series, The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, Miscellany, and other journals. They are the 2018 recipient of the Patricia & Emmett Robinson Prize from the Poetry Society of South Carolina. He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History







Heathens & Liars of Lickskillet County

Novel, PRA Publishing



Skinning Dipping with Strangers

Poetry chapbook





Derek Berry has performed and featured at the following events, festivals, and reading series:

Gaillard Performing Arts Center

Peace Center- Greenville, South Carolina

University of South Carolina- Aiken

Redux Contemporary Arts Center

Free Verse Poetry Festival

Deckle Edge Poetry Festival

Jailbreak! Arts Festival

The Charleston Arts Festival

Arts in the Heart of Augusta

SC Statehouse: Enjoy SC

Berry Fleming Book Festival

Augusta University Writer's Weekend

SCWA Low Country Writing Conference

Cre8 Confernece

ChART Festival

OPEN Arts Expo

TriCounty Literary Celebration

Decatur Book Festival

Southern Fried Poetry Festival

SlamMadness Poetry Festival,

College of Charleston

Aiken High School

Berkley County High School

Columbia County Alternative School

Charleston City Gallery

Charleston County Public Library


Fabulous Nights, West Ashley

Goetry, Athens, GA

Firestorm Books, Asheville, NC

Charleston Farmer's Market

King Dusko, Charleston, SC

(Y)our Poetry, Book Tavern, Augusta, GA

Elliotborough MiniBar, Charleston, SC
Typewriter Poetry, Charleston Farmer’s Market
The Poetry Show, North Charleston, NC
Neo-Soul Sundays, Columbia, SC

MAD Studios, Augusta, GA

TAPPs Arts Center, Columbia, SC

Mind Gravy-- Drip, Columbia, SC

Mind Gravy-- Pizza Man, Columbia, SC

Mind Gravy-- Cool Beans, Columbia, SC

Sit-a-Spell Coffeehouse Poetry, Augusta, GA

Dope Spit & Open Mic, Augusta GA

Cory's Grilled Cheese, James Island, SC

Common House, North Charleston, SC

Poetry Matters Celebration, Augusta, GA

Safe Word, 5th Wall Productions, West Ashley, South Carolina

Mics Wide Open, Bottega Arts & Wine, Wilmington, NC

East Bay Meeting House, Charleston, SC
Poetry Society of South Carolina

492 on King, Charleston SC, 2017

Vibe Fest, Charleston, SC, 2014

Poetry on the Porch, Mount Pleasant, 2014