Tampa Bay authors were awarded handsomely in the 2016 Florida Book Awards, the winners of which were announced Saturday.
Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman won the gold medal for Florida nonfiction for his book Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country.
Pittman's book, a look at some of the state's most unusual events, has received international attention.
"I greatly appreciate any recognition for a book that was turned down by several publishers who didn't think the rest of the country wanted to know much about Florida," he said. "This recognition means so much more because it's coming from my fellow Floridians."
His 2013 book, The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid, won a silver medal in the same category.
Other Tampa Bay area winners include two University of South Florida creative writing professors. Jay Hopler won the gold medal for poetry for The Abridged History of Rainfall, which was also a finalist for the National Book Award. Ira Sukrungruang took the bronze medal for general fiction for his story collection The Melting Season. Ward Larsen of Sarasota won the silver for popular fiction for Passenger 19.
The awards, coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, are given annually in 10 categories. More than 200 books were submitted for 2016. Authors must be full-time Florida residents, except in Florida nonfiction and visual arts categories, where subject matter must focus on Florida.
The winners will be honored at an awards banquet on April 12 in Tallahassee.
Young children's literature Gold/Reichert Award
Big Cat, Ethan Long
Older children's literature
Gold: The First Last Day, Dorian Cirrone
Silver: Return Fire, Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Bronze: Framed! A T.O.A.S.T Mystery, James Ponti
Gold: Oh Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, Craig Pittman
Silver: White Sand, Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public Space and Miami's Virginia Key, Gregory W. Bush
Bronze: Music Everywhere: The Rock and Roll Roots of a Southern Town, Marty Jourard
Gold: The Other Traitor, Sharon Potts
Silver: Sparrow in the Wind, S. Rose
Bronze: The Melting Season, Ira Sukrungruang
Gold: Lassoing the Sun, Mark Woods
Silver: Beyond Integration, J. Michael Butler
Bronze: Kingdoms in the Air, Bob Shacochis
Gold: The Abridged History of Rainfall, Jay Hopler
Silver: Latest Volcano, Tana Jean Welch
Bronze: Hour of the Ox, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello
Gold: Storm Crashers, Richard Wickliffe
Silver: Passenger 19, Ward Larsen
Bronze: A Murder of Crows, Tom Lowe
Gold: La Casa Viejo y Ortros Relatos (The Old House and Other Stories), Isabel Garcia Cintas
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Gold: Tropical Light: The Art of A.E. Backus, Natasha Kuzmanovic
Silver: Saints of Old Florida, Melissa Farrell, Christina McDermott, Emily Raffield
Bronze: E.G. Barnhill: Florida Photographer, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Gary Monroe
Gold: All We Have Left, Wendy Mills
Silver: Autofocus, Lauren Gibaldi
Bronze: The Homecoming, Stacie Ramey