1. Life & Culture

Local gifts for readers around Tampa Bay

How about a book, or a work of visual art, by a local writer? Or a place where you and yours can be writers, too?
Local author Steph Post is also an artist. These holiday cards are available at her Etsy shop, The Imaginary Bird.
Local author Steph Post is also an artist. These holiday cards are available at her Etsy shop, The Imaginary Bird. [ Steph Post ]
Published Nov. 17

Finding a gift with a local tie for the book lover on your list isn’t that hard — the Tampa Bay area is home to all kinds of authors. Here are a few really local possibilities.

St. Petersburg Press

This homegrown publisher has only been around for a couple of years but has put out books by writers around the Tampa Bay area. Here are some of its recent books; learn more at

Vintage St. Pete Volume II: Legends, Locations, Lifestyles, the second in Bill DeYoung’s series, with histories of Tony Jannus, the original Skyway, long-gone tourist attractions and more, with dozens of photos.

The Last Florida Boy, a novel about the early, freewheeling days of marijuana smuggling in the area by Tom Gribbin, a St. Pete Beach resident who has been a lawyer, musician, executive and writer.

Accidental First Lady: On the Front Lines (and Behind the Scenes) of Local Politics, a memoir by Kerry Kriseman, wife of outgoing St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Feast, a book of poetry about “transformation, redemption, loss, and hope regained” by Maureen McDole, a poet, St. Petersburg native and founder of the dynamic arts organization Keep St. Pete Lit.

The Imaginary Bird

Brooksville author Steph Post (Holding Smoke, Miraculum) is also a visual artist. She draws inspiration from the rural setting she lives in, especially birds, wild and domestic — she jokingly calls herself “mother of chickens.” Their images, and sometimes their feathers, grace the prints, cards and ornaments she sells at Right now she has cards with jaunty holiday chickens, feather ornaments and more.

Poetry Post

How about a literary experience to share with friends and family — for free? Since she was appointed the city of Tampa’s first Wordsmith in 2020, poet Gianna Russo has worked to make literature more accessible to everyone. The latest project is the Poetry Post, a mobile art installation — where people can write a poem or short story and post it. The Poetry Post is a work of art itself, designed by local sculptor Eileen Goldenberg. The Poetry Post will be at the Tampa Municipal Office Building, 306 E Jackson St., through November; future locations will be announced on social media. Get information at