Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. His new book, Arthur Ashe: A Life, is the first comprehensive, authoritative biography of the American icon and pioneering athlete. Arsenault, one of the nation’s leading civil rights historians, is the author of several acclaimed and prize-winning books, including Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice and The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America. He lives in St. Petersburg.
Ace Atkins is the author of 23 books, including eight Quinn Colson novels, the first two of which, The Ranger and The Lost Ones, were nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel. His latest novel about Colson, The Sinners, was published in July. In addition, he is the author of seven New York Times bestselling novels in the continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, most recently Old Black Magic. Before turning to fiction, he was a correspondent for the then-St. Petersburg Times and a crime reporter for the Tampa Tribune. In college, he played defensive end for the undefeated Auburn University football team (for which he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated). He lives with his family in Oxford, Miss.
Morgan Babst is a native of New Orleans. She studied writing at NOCCA, Yale and NYU, and her essays and short fiction have appeared in Garden and Gun, Oxford American, Guernica, the Harvard Review, Lenny Letter and the New Orleans Review, among others. Her debut novel, The Floating World, was named one of the best books of the year by Amazon and Kirkus Reviews and was a New York Times Editors’ Pick
Sorboni Banerjee is an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor. She spent a decade on the air in Boston before moving to Tampa to be a consumer reporter and anchor at Fox 13 Tampa Bay. She's the daughter of an Indian physicist who made her a storyteller and showed her the world and a mother from Maine who taught her to love books and save the world, and she has a little brother who probably will. Sorboni lives in Florida with her investigative reporter husband, adorable son and giant dog. Her YA novel Hide With Me is her first book.
Dave Barry has been a professional humorist ever since he discovered that professional humor was a lot easier than working. His latest book is Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog. For many years he wrote a newspaper column that appeared in more than 500 newspapers and generated thousands of letters from readers who thought he should be fired. Despite this, Barry won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Barry has written more than 30 books, including the novels Big Trouble, Lunatics, Tricky Business and, most recently, Insane City. He has also written a number of books with titles like I'll Mature When I'm Dead, which are technically classified as nonfiction, although they contain numerous lies. Two of Barry's books were the basis for the CBS sitcom Dave's World, which can probably still be seen on cable TV in certain underdeveloped nations. Barry lives in Miami with his family.
Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 17 novels, including Hell, A Small Hotel, Perfume River and the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series. His latest novel is the fourth in the Cobb series, Paris in the Dark. Butler is also the author of six short story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.
Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of 18 books. His latest book, co-written with Bob Drury, is Valley Forge, the story of how George Washington and the Continental Army turned the tide of the Revolutionary War in 1777. For 15 years Clavin wrote for the New York Times and has contributed to such magazines as Golf, Men's Journal, Parade, Reader’s Digest and Smithsonian. He lives in Sag Harbor, New York.
Erica Dawson is the author of When Rap Spoke Straight to God and two other collections of poetry, The Small Blades Hurt, winner of the 2016 Poets’ Prize, and Big-Eyed Afraid, winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Prize. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blackbird and other journals and have been featured in several anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2008, 2012 and 2015, and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets. Born and raised in Maryland, Dawson holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from Ohio State University and a PhD from University of Cincinnati. She is the director of the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA in creative writing and an associate professor of English and writing. She lives in Tampa.
Bill DeYoung was born and raised in St. Petersburg and returned to his hometown in 2014 after more than three decades as a writer and editor at newspapers across Florida (plus one in Savannah, Ga.). He is the author of two books about Florida history: Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and The Man Who Brought It Down and his latest, Phil Gernhard, Record Man. Bill loves his family, Florida and the Beatles.
Born and raised in the wilds of North Florida, Andre Frattino has cultivated his love for history, storytelling and illustration in his life’s work. His new book is A Land Remembered: The Graphic Novel, based on Patrick Smith’s beloved novel of Florida’s pioneer days. Frattino holds an MA in art education from the University of Florida and utilizes his degree in educating others in the field of sequential art, which is the basis for comics and graphic novels. Frattino’s other passion is the paranormal. He has conducted more than 50 haunting investigations along the East Coast and worked as a consultant for SyFy’s Ghosthunters. He currently resides in Savannah, Ga., where he works at the Savannah College of Art and Design by day and conducts ghost tours by night.
Lauren Gibaldi is a public librarian who’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughters. Her YA novels include The Night We Said Yes, Autofocus and her latest, This Tiny Perfect World.
Tyler Gillespie is a pale Floridian and author of the recent collection Florida Man: Poems. He is a contributing writer for Playboy and an award-winning journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, GQ, the Guardian, VICE, the Nation and Salon. His poetry appears in journals such as the Los Angeles Review, PANK, Hobart, and Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. He recently finished a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Jeffery Hess is the author of the novels Tushhog and Beachhead and the story collection Cold War Canoe Club, as well as the editor of the award-winning anthologies Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform and Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand. Prior to earning an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Florida, he served aboard the Navy’s oldest and newest ships. Hess has held writing positions at a daily newspaper, a Fortune 500 company and a university-based research center. He lives in Florida, where he writes and leads the DD-214 Writers’ Workshop for military veterans.
Melanie Hobson holds a BA summa cum laude in classical studies from McMaster University, and was a Michener Fellow in the MFA program at the University of Miami and a Kingsbury Fellow in the PhD Program at Florida State University. She was born in New Zealand and immigrated to Canada with her family as a child. After a few summers working on archaeological excavations in Greece, she moved to the United States and now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. Summer Cannibals is her first novel.
Cheryl Hollon writes full time after leaving an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. Cheryl is President of the Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America and Novelists, Inc. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in DC, and Killer Nashville in Tennessee. You will also find her at Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, wherever they are being held. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL.
Ladee Hubbard teaches Africana Studies at Tulane University. The Talented Ribkins is her first novel. She studied English at Princeton before earning an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in folklore and mythology from UCLA. Her short work has appeared in renowned journals, including Callaloo and Guernica. Hubbard was born in Massachusetts and raised in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award.
Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow and most recently An American Marriage, an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Jones’ writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, the New York Times and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa and Arizona State University. She is a professor of creative writing at Emory University.
Gilbert King was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction for The Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, which was also a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine and the Marshall Project, King also writes about justice for the New York Times and Washington Post. His new book is Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. Like The Devil in the Grove, it is the story of real crimes in Florida. King lives in New York City.
Steve Kistulentz published his first novel, Panorama, this year. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Florida State University. His fiction has appeared, among other places, in Narrative and a special issue of Mississippi Review on emerging writers guest edited by Rick Moody. He is also the author of two books of poetry: The Luckless Age, which won the Benjamin Saltman Award, and Little Black Daydream. He is the director of the graduate creative writing program at Saint Leo University in Florida. Prior to that, he spent 15 years working in national politics in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He now lives in Safety Harbor and is working on a second novel.
Jeff Klinkenberg wrote for the Tampa Bay Times from 1977 to 2014. He is a two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, a recipient of the 2018 Florida Folk Heritage Award and the winner of the Florida Humanities Council’s 2018 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing. His latest book is Son of Real Florida: Stories Fromm My Life; his other books include Alligators in B-Flat, Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators and Seasons of Real Florida.
Fred Koehler is an artist, entrepreneur, and adventurer who feels most at home mucking about in the Florida scrub or along the coast. At age seven, he wrote and illustrated his first book, which won a shiny gold sticker and an iced cinnamon bun from the vending machine in the teachers’ lounge. Since then, his books have garnered numerous national recognitions including a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, multiple Kirkus Stars, Bank Street College's Best Books of the Year, and inclusion in the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. When he's not making books, Fred can be found backpacking, free diving, or otherwise adventuring across Florida and around the world. Visit him online at freddiek.com or on social media @superfredd.
Michael Koryta is the New York Times bestselling author of 13 books, most recently How It Happened. His previous novels -- including Last Words, Those Who Wish Me Dead and So Cold The River -- were New York Times notable books and national bestsellers. They have been nominated for numerous awards, and his first book won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Koryta is a former private investigator and newspaper reporter. He lives in Bloomington, Ind., and Camden, Maine.
Eleanor Kriseman is a social worker in New York City. She was born and raised in Florida. The Blurry Years is her first novel.
Danny Lopez is a pen name. The author was raised in Mexico, Texas and Florida. He worked numerous menial jobs before becoming a photojournalist, which allowed him to travel around the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean and meet many of the characters that populate his stories. When he finally decided to get serious about writing, he went back to college for an MFA in creative writing. His new book, The Last Breath, is the second in the Dexter Vega series. It is set in Sarasota, where the author lives.
Gale Massey lives in St. Petersburg. Her stories have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Walking the Edge, Sabal, Seven Hills Press and other journals. She has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Writers in Paradise, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The Girl From Blind River is her debut novel.
A native of New Hampshire, Joyce Maynard began publishing her stories in magazines when she was 13 years old and first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life,” in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist and a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines. She is a longtime performer with the Moth. Maynard is the author of 17 books, including the novel To Die For and the bestselling memoir At Home in the World. Her latest book is The Best of Us, a memoir about marrying at 59 and, less than two years later, losing her husband to cancer. She lives in California.
Ben Montgomery is a former enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com. His new book is The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer’s Search for Meaning in the Great Depression. In 2010, Montgomery was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called “For Their Own Good,” about abuse at Florida’s oldest reform school. He lives in Tampa with his three children. He is the author of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.
Greg Neri is the Eisner-nominated, Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty, which Flavorwire hailed as one of the top 25 essential graphic novels of all time. He has written ten books for young people, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award-winner, Chess Rumble, and his books have been translated into multiple languages in more than 25 countries. His new book, Grand Theft Horse, is a graphic biography of his cousin. Neri lives on the Gulf coast of Florida with his wife and daughter. For more information, visit his website at www.gregneri.com.
Steph Post is the author of the novels Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked, and her short fiction has most recently appeared in Haunted Waters: From the Depths, Nonbinary Review and the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for the Big Moose Prize. Her new novel is Walk in the Fire. Post lives in Florida.
Lori Roy's new novel, The Disappearing, draws on the real-life abuses at the Dozier School for Boys in the Florida Panhandle. Her debut novel, Bent Road, received the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best first novel by an American author. Her work has been twice named a New York Times Notable Crime Book and included on various best of lists and summer reading lists. Her third book, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, received the 2016 Edgar for best novel, making Roy the first woman to receive an Edgar for both best first novel and best novel, and only the third person to have done so. Roy lives with her family in west central Florida.
B.A. Shapiro’s latest work of historical fiction is The Collector’s Apprentice, set in Paris between the world wars. Shapiro is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Muralist, The Art Forger and five other novels. She has also written four screenplays and the nonfiction book The Big Squeeze. The Art Forger won the 2013 New England Book Award for Fiction. Shapiro lives in Boston.
Enid Shomer is the author of four books of poetry and three of fiction, most recently the novel The Twelve Rooms of the Nile. Her work has been collected in more than 50 anthologies and textbooks, including Poetry: A Harper Collins Pocket Anthology, Best American Poetry and New Stories from the South. In 2013, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council. In her recent anthology, All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women, editor Shomer provides groundbreaking work by some of the century’s most prominent poets, among them Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Louise Gluck, Dorianne Laux and Sharon Olds. The poets in the book represent different ethnicities, geographies, social classes and sexual orientations.
Gary Shteyngart is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Little Failure (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist) and the novels Super Sad True Love Story (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for first fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for fiction). His books regularly appear on best-of lists around the world and have been translated into 29 languages. His new novel is Lake Success.
James Swain is the nationally bestselling author of 20 mystery novels. His books have been named Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews best mystery books of the year, and he has received three Barry Award nominations and a Florida Book Award for fiction. In 2006, he was awarded France’s prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for best American crime writing. Born in Huntington, N.Y., he graduated from New York University and worked as a magazine editor and screenwriter before moving to Florida to run a successful advertising firm. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys performing closeup magic. His new thriller is The King Tides.
Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling, award-winning author of 16 novels, including the new psychological thriller Under My Skin. Her books are published in 26 languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named best of the year or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, Indie Booksellers, Goodreads and Sun Sentinel. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine. Unger lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.