SunLit Festival a ‘Literary Smorgasboard’

For more information, including a detailed schedule, visit

For the fifth year, the SunLit Festival will be celebrating an “intersection of literary arts” in the greater St. Petersburg area, including events that will bring poetry, stories, books and more to life. 

The festival, billed as a “Literary Smorgasbord,” is produced by the local literary arts non-profit Keep St. Pete Lit, in concert with and sponsored by a wide range of local businesses, organizations and municipal entities. 

Starting with a kick-off party at the Chihuly Collection in downtown St. Petersburg on Thursday, April 11, the festival continues through Saturday, April 27, and will include 24 events that range from a performance highlighting the Stonewall Riots to children’s poetry night hike at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. 

“We have stuff for kids, we have bilingual events, LGBTQ and African American-focused events,” said Maureen McDole, executive director of the SunLit Festival and founder of Keep St. Pete Lit. “It’s truly a showcase for the talent and diversity in our community.”   

Are majority of the 24 events are free to the public, said McDole, and all are welcome. 

“It goes to show that literature goes everywhere,” McDole said. “We really want to be inclusive, no matter your background or age.”

Gulfport will also be a part of the festival Friday, April 19 from 7 to 10 p.m. with the official dedication of Trolley Market Square as an historic site, including a new walking tour that will showcase stops on the original trolley line, and feature the unveiling of a new historical marker. The event is co-sponsored by the city of Gulfport and the Gulfport Merchants Chamber.

“The night of April 19 is the first time that the tour and story will be told,” said event coordinator Cathy Salustri. “We’re also going to have music from the Urban Gypsies and kid’s activities.” 

Here’s the List  

Thursday, April 11 – SunLit Festival Kick-off Party

Saturday, April 13 – Downtown Tour with a Literary Twist, Ekphrastic Performance inspired by Quest: A Celebration of Glass and Children’s Poetry Night Hike

Sunday, April 14 – Wordier’s 1K Walk and Write (or Read)

Monday, April 15 – Author Talk with Paul Wilborn

Tuesday, April 16 – Howl: A Night of Poetry and Music

Wednesday, April 17 – Creative Loafing’s (F’n) Fiction Contest Award Ceremony

Thursday, April 18 – Poem in Your Pocket Day Art Installation, Lector Social Club w/ Cigar City Journal and Staged Reading of Art People

Friday, April 19 – Porch Party: Gulfport Trolley

Saturday, April 20 – Baked in the Florida Sun: A Benefit for Keep St. Pete Lit

Monday, April 22 – A Celebration of the Erotic

Tuesday, April 23 – Literary Trivia Night and Costume Contest

Wednesday, April 24 – The Long and Short of It: The Relevance of Dark Fiction & Horror in Our Time

Thursday, April 25 – Literary Carousel at MFA

Friday, April 26 – Sunday April 28 – Antiquarian Book Fair

Friday, April 26 – Poets & Lizards: A SunLit Celebration of New Southern Writing and “One In Ten”

Saturday, April 27 – KidsLit!: Poetry in the Gardens; Writers, Authors, and Winners; Not Just Music: A Sonic Journey; and Rob Sanders Stonewall Book Performance and Reading

For more information, including a detailed schedule, visit


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