Pam Houston will be closing speaker at Writers in Paradise in January

Published Dec. 11, 2018

Fans of the annual authors reading series at the Writers in Paradise conference at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, make note of a substitution.

Award-winning fiction writer Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge) was scheduled to be the closing speaker on Jan. 26. Strout had to bow out for family reasons, but, according to conference director Les Standiford, Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness) will step in.

Houston is "a fine writer and a big personality," Standiford wrote in an email. Her brand-new memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, will be available for her book signing.

Strout has already signed on to speak at the 2020 conference, as has Erik Larson (Devil in the White City, Dead Wake).

In other Writers in Paradise news, bestselling author and conference co-founder Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Since We Fell) will be the keynote speaker on Jan. 19. It's been several years since Lehane appeared.

Other writers who will appear at the readings, which are free and open to the public, include Andre Dubus III, Ann Hood,Laura Lippman and Stewart O'Nan. For a complete schedule, click here.

Contact Colette Bancroft at or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.