Times Festival of Reading Goes Virtual
One of the biggest literary events in St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, is going virtual this year. Social distancing means no crowds, no packed auditoriums, no long lines to get a book signed.
The fall event, held annually at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, has some well-known writers lined up so far: crime fiction writer James Lee Burke, perennial favorite Michael Connelly, and mystery writer Laura Lippman, who leads workshops at the Eckerd College Writers in Paradise conference each year. Also slated to appear is two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author for fiction Colson Whitehead, who won the prize most recently for his 2019 novel “The Nickel Boys,” based on Ben Montgomery’s reporting on the Florida School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, authors will appear in video interviews and panels that will be released November 12 through 14 on a festival website. Signed copies of the authors’ books will be available for purchase.
Writers in Paradise Still on for Now
Writers in Paradise, held each January on the Eckerd College campus, is going forward as planned – for now. Folks can apply starting August 1. The popular writers conference is scheduled for January 16 to 23, and is home to an array of craft talks and events. The conference typically features free nightly readings, all open to the public. So far, however, eight workshops are planned, including two novel options, personal essay, memoir, short story, poetry and narrative suspense, as well as a three-day workshop on structure in prose. Faculty includes well-known authors such as Ann Hood, Laura Lippman, Andre Dubus III and more.
The conference website says organizers will decide mid-November whether to proceed as planned, based on the latest college guidelines and CDC policies. If the in-person edition is canceled, applicants will be able access a webinar with craft talks, Q&A sessions and faculty readings. This year Writers in Paradise will match five dollars from every application fee and make a $10 donation to Black Lives Matter. Go to writersinparadise.com for more.