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).

He co-founded and organizes 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. He is the current President. He also founded the Pass the Mic Initiative, a youth-centered program to cultivate self-expression and critical engagement through spoken word & hip hop. 

He is on the Executive Board of Free Verse, the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. He is the editor of Good Juju Review and co-host of the Contribute Your Verse Podcast.

He 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).

His work can be found in The Water This Time: Anthology on Sea Level Rise in Charleston, The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, Miscellany, and other journals. 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

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

Berry Fleming Book Festival

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

King Dusko, Charleston, SC

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

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