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Writers in Paradise goes virtual for 2021

The annual conference at Eckerd College will hold craft talks and its popular author readings online.
Emily Bernard ("Black Is the Body") is a new member of the faculty of Writers in Paradise in 2021.
Emily Bernard ("Black Is the Body") is a new member of the faculty of Writers in Paradise in 2021. [ ANDY DUBACK | Andy Duback ]
Published Jan. 8, 2021
Updated Jan. 10, 2021

For 15 years, Eckerd College has hosted Writers in Paradise on its Florida-postcard campus in St. Petersburg.

This year, like so many other book events, the conference has gone virtual.

Founded by Dennis Lehane, bestselling author (Mystic River) and Eckerd alum, and Sterling Watson, longtime director of the college’s creative writing program, Writers in Paradise has traditionally offered a week each January of classes and workshops in many genres to established and aspiring writers. Its stellar faculty has included such writers as Ann Hood, Major Jackson, Andre Dubus III, Michael Koryta, Laura Lippman and Stewart O’Nan.

The conference has also been popular with local readers for its free author reading series, which has presented such luminaries as Richard Blanco, Stephen King, Attica Locke, Ann Patchett and Richard Russo as keynote speakers, along with readings by conference faculty.

This year, conference director Les Standiford announced that a shortened, online version of Writers in Paradise would take place, with craft talks and conversations presented virtually for conference applicants.

Author Michael Koryta, a Writers in Paradise faculty member and alum, will read on Jan. 16.
Author Michael Koryta, a Writers in Paradise faculty member and alum, will read on Jan. 16. [ Jonathan Mehring ]

The evening reading series will also be online, shortened to two nights and featuring the conference faculty. To watch the readings, go to writersinparadise.com/readings/.

6 p.m. Jan. 17: Ana Menéndez (Adios, Happy Homeland!), Michael Koryta (Never Far Away), Major Jackson (The Absurd Man), Sterling Watson (The Committee)

6 p.m. Jan. 18: Les Standiford (Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and the Rise of America’s Xanadu), Ann Hood (Kitchen Yarns), Emily Bernard (Black Is the Body), Andre Dubus III (Gone So Long), Laura Lippman (My Life as a Villainess)