Shani Gilchrist is a critic, essayist, and freelance journalist based in Columbia and Charleston, S.C. She writes about many things, including class, race, gender, parenting, and how perceptions of these affect relationships.

Gilchrist has interviewed and profiled many interesting subjects, including social justice activists, national recording artists, international financiers, and more. She’s worked as a columnist for Charleston City Paper and has written features for Columbia’s Free Times, The Daily Beast, and The Washington Post. She’s written for two anthologies, Equals, Vol. 1; and State of the Heart, Vol. 2: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love (Oct 2015, USC Press). Her essays have appeared in The Literary Hub, Longreads, Catapult, and more.

Having been raised in the Midwest and the South, Gilchrist keeps a practical view of the reasons behind the racial and cultural tumult of today’s world. Her mother was raised in the rural Mississippi of the 1940s and 1950s under the unusual circumstance of being a black child who experienced some of the privileges normally afforded only to white children of means. Gilchrist spent her own childhood learning a similarly precarious—although less lethal--dance, living the dual life of becoming educated in the struggles of black America whilst living a lifestyle that the founders of American culture never intended for people of color.

She is an involved member of the arts and advocacy worlds, holding past or present board positions with the South Carolina Arts Foundation, Columbia Museum of Art, and the ONE Campaign’s girls & women initiative.

Interesting or odd Facts

  • From 2008 - 2013 I had a lifestyle blog Called “Camille Maurice: Musings, conversations, and beautiful things.” Through the blog I got to interview some of the most renowned people in the interior design and arts worlds. It was such a blast.

  • Archery is a favorite, calming hobby.

  • I met my husband. In a bar. At 1AM. With my mother. On my 19th birthday.

  • In 2019 I managed to figure out how to grow tomatoes (in Columbia) that taste like they came from a saltwater climate.

  • I trained horses as a teenager.

  • My late godfather, Robert E. Johnson, III told me I was going to grow up to be a writer when I was in kindergarten. I’m not sure how he knew back then. Maybe because he was an editor?

  • When I was a senior in high school, my headmaster, Dr. J. Robert Shirley, chuckled when I told him I was planning to major in business and go into the corporate world. “No, you’re not,” he said, knowing that for me that notion was coming from far out in left field. “You’re a writer.” He was correct.