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Literary conference returns to Flagler College to celebrate Florida writing

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Oct. 16, 2013

For five hundred years, Floridians have faced the challenges of conquistadors, mosquitoes, hurricanes, robber barons, land scams, retirement villages, hanging chads, and more. And writers have documented these stories every step of the way. To coincide with our state’s 500th birthday, this year’s Florida Literary Arts Coalition Other Words conference focuses on “Writing Florida: The First 500 Years.”

The conference, held Nov. 7-10th at Flagler College in St. Augustine, is now in its ninth year. The weekend will offer panels, readings, workshops and an independent book fair, all focused around the unique literary landscape of historic and contemporary Florida.

All evening events are free and open to the public and offer a unique opportunity to view the newly renovated Solarium in historic Ponce Hall. Evening readings take place at 7:30 p.m. and include:

• Nov. 7: Gianna Russo and Mark Powell

     o Gianna Russo is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Moonflower,” which is a Florida Book Awards bronze medal winner, Florida Publishers Association Presidents’ Award silver medal winner, and an Eric Hofer First Horizons finalist. Ms. Russo is founding editor of YellowJacket Press, currently Florida’s only publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts. She teaches at St. Leo University, where she is also managing editor of Sandhill Review.

     o Mark Powell is the author of four novels: “Blood Kin,” which received the Peter Taylor Prize, “Prodigals,” “The Dark Corner,” and “The House of the Lord.” He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference. He teaches in the English Department at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.

• Nov. 8: D.K. Roberts

     o D.K. Roberts’ latest book is entitled “Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and other Florida Wildlife.” She is a political columnist for The St. Petersburg Times and makes documentaries for BBC Radio in London, where she also spends part of the year. She has been a commentator for NPR since 1993, and she writes for the Washington Post. She teaches at the Florida State University.

• Nov. 9: Campbell McGrath and Rhonda Riley

     o Of Rhonda Riley’s first novel, “The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope,” Julianna Baggott writes “it is an incredible, otherworldly love story. Both whimsical and deeply satisfying, it’s a tale about the fluidity of love, the importance of family, and the meaning of home.  It’s a debut that reads with the urgency of a lifelong secret finally confessed.” Riley received her MFA at the University of Florida.

     o Campbell McGrath has published numerous collections of poetry, including “In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys,” which won the Florida Book Award. He has won a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Cohen Award from Ploughshares literary journal, and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Florida International University.

In addition to the readings, the conference will also offer in-depth writing workshops and individual manuscript consultations in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting. These workshops require additional registration: visit to learn more.

If you are a person with a disability and need reasonable accommodations, please contact Lynn Francisco at 904-819-6460. Sign Language Interpreters are available upon request with a minimum of three days’ notice. Call (904) 819-6339 or visit for more information.