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Revisit Kerouac’s Florida at screening of documentary ‘Snowbird’

By Colette Bancroft
Jack Kerouac lived his final days in St. Petersburg.

Beat writer Jack Kerouac made his name, and his mark on American literature, with On the Road, a 1957 novel that sings the praises of life on the highway.

Kerouac came to the end of the road in St. Petersburg, moving here in 1964 and dying of liver cirrhosis in 1969.

His years in Florida are the subject of a documentary in progress by filmmaker Kristy Andersen. A longtime Tampa Bay area resident, Andersen has made a number of documentaries, including Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun, a feature-length biography of the Florida-raised writer that was broadcast as part of the PBS American Masters series.

For the Kerouac documentary, titled Snowbird, Andersen has interviewed many local residents who knew him. Kerouac first began visiting Florida in 1957, a few months before On the Road was published, and spent time in Orlando as well as in St. Petersburg.

At the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday, Andersen will screen the documentary and discuss it with author Bob Kealing, who wrote Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends. She is also interested in talking to anyone who met Kerouac during his Florida years.

 

Snowbird

By Kristy Andersen

A screening of a documentary in progress about Jack Kerouac.

Times Festival of Reading

Kristy Andersen will be a featured presenter at the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Nov. 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She will speak at 3:15 p.m. in the Fish & Wildlife Research Institute Auditorium.