Since 2008, writers have ducked into an alley for Piccolo Spoleto’s longest-running literary event, Piccolo Fiction. After three years at the Charleston Music Hall, the event is returning to Blue Bicycle’s courtyard and alley for intimate readings of fiction all beginning with the words “I ducked into the alley.” This year’s event will take place on June 1 at 5 p.m. and is open to the public.

The courtyard, tucked off Upper King Street, is intimate and is intended to feel more participatory and casual. Organizer Ben Adams says the return to the alley makes sense: it inspired the prompt, it’s the right size for an intimate reading, and who doesn’t love a brick wall dripping with ivy?

Each story is about 1,000 words and will start with those five words: “I ducked into the alley.” That is where the similarities end. In selecting writers, Adams wanted to showcase different styles and keep things as local as possible. While we don’t know what the stories will be about ( they’re originals), we do know about the writers and their Blue Bicycle connection:

Jennifer Hope Choi is an assistant editor for Charleston Magazine who focuses on nonfiction, in particular, food and travel writing. Tupelo Hassman is launching her new book, gods with a little g, with a party at Blue Bicycle in August. Emma Stough received her MFA from the College of Charleston and her work, Third Coast, will be out soon. In the case of Savannah’s Jonathan Rabb, author of the award-winning novels Among the Living, Rosa, and The Overseer, his sister-in-law told Adams about Rabb’s writing on a trip to Charleston.

“I hope people on the sidewalk walk by the courtyard and see the chairs and the people talking and ask ‘what is this?'” says Adams. “And that’s something that can’t organically happen at every Spoleto event, but it is something that can happen here.”

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