Saturday, June 23, 2018
Books

St. Petersburg's SunLit Festival returns with 10 days of literary celebration

St. Petersburg's second annual SunLit Festival promises to be as eclectic and entertaining as the first. This 10-day festival celebrating literature, literacy, writers and readers kicks off Friday with eight writers in "live literary combat" and winds up on March 13 with the first showing of a new documentary in progress about Beat novelist Jack Kerouac, who spent his last years in the city.

In between, the festival features a literary pub crawl, musical performances, a Shakespeare play, mural creations, poetry readings, discussions and workshops, and lots of events for kids at local libraries.

The capstone of the festival, of course, will be the three-day 34th annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair at the Coliseum.

For a complete events list and updates, go to sunlitfestival.blogspot.com or facebook.com/SunLitFestival. The festival is co-produced by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and Keep St. Pete Lit.

Here are some SunLit highlights. All events take place in St. Petersburg.

Friday

Lucha Libro, free, 7-10 p.m., Bloom Art Center, 910 Fifth Ave. N. Eight local authors face off in live literary combat. Pairs of writers get a prompt and five minutes for spontaneous creation. They read their work and the audience picks the winner, with play continuing until only one author remains standing.

St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival's Cymbeline, $10, 7:30 p.m. Friday-March 6, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a Shakespearean tale of romance and intrigue under the stars.

Saturday

Second Annual SunLit Festival Award, free, 2 p.m., St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N. At the official opening of the festival, St. Petersburg poet laureate Helen Pruitt Wallace will receive the SunLit Award for significant contribution to the art of letters; reception follows.

Literacy Festival and Community Literacy Mural, free, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., James Weldon Johnson Community Library, 1059 18th Ave. S. Artist Ya La'ford and children in the community will create a mural; there will also be stories, music, food and an appearance by the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Jack Kerouac Night at the Flamingo, free, 7 p.m., Flamingo Sports Bar, 1230 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N. Novelist Tim Dorsey (Coconut Cowboy) will read, accompanied by Kelly Green Experience. Other performers include Ronny Elliott, Geri X, the Florida Boys, Tom SkidRow and the Brad Morewood St. Pete Beat Poets.

March 6

Citywide Read and Write-in, free, 2-4 p.m., North Straub Park. Bring picnic blankets, favorite books or note pads, but leave the Kindles and smartphones at home. Special guest Camp Unplugged will create a "campy" and digital-free space so your imagination can bask in the sunshine and fresh air without distraction.

Horror Writers Association Panel, free, 2 p.m., Wine Madonna, 111 Second Ave. NE. Discussion, Q&A and book signing with authors Kurt Fawver, Lynne Hansen, Mary-Jo Holmes, K.L. Nappier, Peter Salomon and Jeff Strand.

March 7

Raise Your Voice: Protest Literature, free, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S. Readings, discussion and a workshop cover protest literature by women from the antebellum South, Harlem Renaissance and civil rights movement, with the workshop focused on contemporary issues.

March 8

Behind Baby Talk: Why Reading to Infants Really Matters, free, 6 p.m., Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S. Dr. James McHale talks about why reading to infants and toddlers is so crucial.

Fiction Live, $10 in advance or $12 at the door, 7 p.m., [email protected], 620 First Ave. S. Wordier Than Thou presents an event that teams authors with actors who bring their short stories to life.

Songsmiths and Poets Night, free, 7-10 p.m., Old Key West Bar & Grill, 2451 Central Ave. All original compositions performed by local songwriters Ronny Elliott, Pat Barmore, Pete Gallagher and more.

March 9

SunLit Pub Crawl, free, 6-10 p.m., venues to be announced. SunLit brings literature to bars, coffee shops and restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg in a moveable literary feast. Readers include local authors Don Bruns, Lee Irby, Lori Roy, Sterling Watson and members of the Horror Writers Association and Keep St. Pete Lit.

March 11

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, $10 on Friday for all weekend or $6 per day, 5-9 p.m. March 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 12, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 13, the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N. Now in its 34th year, this is the largest antiquarian book fair south of New York City, with more than 100 dealers from across the United States selling first editions, collectible books, vintage and antique maps and photographs, prints, ephemera and more.

March 13

Jack Kerouac's Florida: At the End of the Road, $5, 7 p.m., [email protected], 620 First Ave. S. Documentary filmmaker Kristy Andersen will present and discuss her documentary in progress about the Beat Generation author of On the Road, who spent his last years living in St. Petersburg and died here in 1969. Andersen has interviewed Kerouac's neighbors, colleagues and bartenders as well as journalists to draw this still-evolving portrait.

Get Happy: The Songs of Judy Garland, $26-$40, 4 p.m., Hough Hall, the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N. Singer Rebecca Kilgore and jazz saxophonist Harry Allen are featured in a performance of Great American Songbook music made famous by Garland.

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Published: 06/21/18
5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

He might not have intended it, but Donald Trump has been good for book publishing.
Published: 06/15/18
What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

Neal ThompsonFor Father’s Day, we checked in with Neal Thompson from his Seattle office. In his new book, Kickflip Boys, Thompson weaves together a story on raising his two independent, passionate sons while giving us an honest look at the underbelly...
Published: 06/15/18
What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir

What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing," reading?

Jen Waite It is June. Romance and weddings are in the air, and with that comes the paperback release of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite, 33. The book, based on Waite’s heartbreaking wedding story, fi...
Updated one month ago
Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Washington, D.C., is a city in crisis, the operations of the federal government all but paralyzed by the conspiracy theories of a powerful politician who behaves as if the bounds of protocol and decency don’t apply to him. As he distracts the nation,...
Updated one month ago
What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

Helen RappaportWhile delving into archives and researching her new book about the murder of the Russian imperial family 100 years ago, The Race to Save the Romanovs, Rappaport celebrated the digital age. "I am able to go back so far in time and look ...
Updated one month ago
Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

In "Flower Hunters," one of the stories in Lauren Groff’s stunning new book Florida, a character gets a reader’s crush on 18th century explorer William Bartram, an early chronicler of the state’s flora and fauna: "She’s most d...
Updated one month ago
Notable: Books for the beach

Notable: Books for the beach

NotableBooks for the beachSuit up: It’s time for a few new books built for vacation reading.By Invitation Only (William Morrow) by Dorothea Benton Frank is the latest serving of Frank’s trademark warm humor and engaging characters, set around two wed...
Updated one month ago
Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

NightstandJudy BlundellSince it’s Memorial Day weekend, we decided to touch base with Judy Blundell, whose new book is High Season. The novel’s protagonist is Ruthie Beamish, director of a small museum who, to make ends meet, rents out her seaside ho...
Updated one month ago

Events: Pulitzer winner Jack Davis to discuss ‘The Gulf’ at Oxford Exchange

Book TalkUniversity of Florida historian Jack E. Davis (The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea) will discuss and sign his Pulitzer Prize-winning book at 1 p.m. May 27 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Admission $5, applicable towar...
Updated one month ago