During the day, Writers in Paradise is all work.
The conference at St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College draws writers from around the country eager to hone their craft in eight days of intensive workshops in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
At night, the conference’s highly accomplished faculty and guest authors give readings that are free and open to the public, making Writers in Paradise an annual highlight for local book lovers.
This year’s conference is the 14th. It was founded by Eckerd alum and bestselling author Dennis Lehane (Since We Fell, Mystic River) and former Eckerd creative writing program head and novelist Sterling Watson (Suitcase City).
Watson is retired from Eckerd but still on the conference faculty, and he’ll be among the impressive group of writers reading this year.
The keynote speaker the evening of Jan. 13 will be fiction writer Ana Menendez (Adios, Happy Homeland!), who will do a Q&A with Writers in Paradise co-director Les Standiford. Standiford will be a presenter on Jan. 19 and will likely talk about how his book The Man Who Invented Christmas became a movie.
Also among the readers are Florida poet laureate Peter Meinke, memoirist and novelist Ann Hood and bestselling crime fiction writer Laura Lippman. (Review of Lippman’s upcoming novel, below.)
The conference’s closing speaker on Jan. 20 will be award-winning novelist Russell Banks, whose books include Cloudsplitter, The Sweet Hereafter and Lost Memory of Skin.
Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.