Midtown Reader ♥️s Word of [South]!

Spring is one of our favorite times of year in Tallahassee, due in no small part to Word of [South], an amazing event that celebrates music and literature and the bond between the two. This year’s event takes place April 12-14 at Cascades Park. We are again hosting some of our very favorite authors under the Midtown Reader Tent, one of seven locations for authors and musicians throughout the weekend. (Click for a map of the venues)

Here’s our schedule!

Saturday, April 13

Noon to 12:45 PM - Tom Coyne

Tom Coyne is the author of the New York Times bestsellers A Course Called Ireland and A Course Called Scotland; Paper Tiger; and the novel A Gentleman’s Game, named one of the best 25 sports books of all time by The Philadelphia Daily News and adapted into a motion picture starring Gary Sinise. He has written for GOLF Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Golfer’s Journal, and numerous other publications.


1 to 2 PM - Florida Book Award Winners Panel – Fiction and Poetry: Kimberly Lojewski, Ron Cooper, D.M. Aderibigbe and Erin Hoover

Kimberly Lojewski is a native Floridian whose book, Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart, won the Gold Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - General Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and have appeared in PANK, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle and elsewhere. Her story "Baba Yaga's House of Forgotten Things" won a 2013 Best of the Net Award.

Ron Cooper’s novel, All My Sins Remembered, was the Silver Medalist for the 2018 Florida Book Award - General Fiction. His earlier novels The Gospel of the Twin, Hume's Fork, and Purple Jesus were published by Bancroft Press. Cooper has also published poetry, short stories, essays, and reviews, and is an amateur bluegrass musician who challenges anyone to play and sing worse than he does.

D.M. Aderibigbe's first book, How the End First Showed, won the 2018 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and the 2018 Florida Book Award Silver Medal for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry Review, Callaloo, jubilat, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. He's received fellowships from The James Merrill House, Banff, OMI International Arts Center, Ucross Foundation, Jentel Foundation and Boston University where he received his MFA in Creative Writing as a BU fellow, and also received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. Born and raised in Nigeria, he is currently a first year PhD student at Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Barnburner, a collection of poetry by Erin Hoover, won the Bronze Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - Poetry. Hoover’s work has appeared in The Best American Poetry and Best New Poets series, and in journals such as Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Pleiades. She has served as editor of the Southeast Review, and cofounder of the literary organization Late Night Library. She earned a Ph.D. from Florida State University where she now teaches writing.


2:15 to 3 PM - Florida Book Award Winners Panel – Fiction and YA: Gale Massey, Michael Jordan, Tara Lynn Masih, Kristina Neihouse and Ryan Calejo

Gale Massey’s debut novel, The Girl From Blind River, was the Bronze Medalist for the 2018 Florida Book Award - General Fiction. 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 Company of Demons is Michael Jordan’s first novel and the winner of the Gold Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - Popular Fiction. A trial lawyer and arbitrator for over three decades, Jordan has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer and named to Best Lawyers in America. He is also a member of the International Association of Crime Writers and is currently working on his next book, a thriller set during the closing stages of WWII.

My Real Name is Hanna, written by Tara Lynn Masih, won the Gold Medal for the Gold Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - Young Adult. Masih is the editor of two ForeWord Books of the Year, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays as well as the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Where the Dog Star Never Glows. She was recently honored with a Neville Award Citation for exemplary stories that deal with climate change, and her essay "Be Prepared to Evacuate" was translated into a dance performance by Dance Box Theater.

In 2016, Kristina Neihouse was awarded an Anne McKee Artist Fund Grant to publish her first novel, Knowing When to Leave, which won the Silver Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - Young Adult. A Key West resident and a full-time librarian, Neihouse has had a story published in Key West: A collection, won The Studios of Key West 2014 Writes of Spring competition and placed 2nd in the 2018 Tennessee Williams Short Story Contest. She spends Saturday nights in the Monroe County Detention Center talking with female inmates about writing and other life choices.

Ryan Calejo’s first novel, Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, won the Gold Medal for the 2018 Florida Book Award - Older Children’s Literature. Calejo was born into a family of immigrants and raised in south Florida, the so-called “Capital of Latin America.” His experiences taught him the importance of diversity in our communities, and he is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to.


3:15 to 4 PM - Florida Book Award Winners – Non-Fiction: Luis Martinez-Fernandez, Jim Ross and Bruce Horovitz

Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández is a historian, university professor, author and public speaker, whose fields of expertise include Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino / Hispanic culture and society. His book Key to the New World: A History of Early Colonial Cuba was the recipient of Florida Book Awards’ 2018 Bronze Medal in General Nonfiction. Currently, he teaches at the University of Central Florida and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council for History Education. Other books he has authored include Revolutionary Cuba: A History, widely acclaimed as the most comprehensive and systematic study on the subject ever written, and Fighting Slavery in the Caribbean.

Jim Ross is managing editor of the Ocala Star-Banner and adjunct instructor in the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida. He edited and contributed to the collection of stories, In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between, which was the winner of the 2018 Florida Book Awards Silver Medal for Florida Nonfiction. Ross has also won awards for column writing and business reporting from The Florida Society of News Editors.

Bruce Horovitz is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur with extensive experience in the nonprofit and business communities of Jacksonville, Florida. His book, Gamble Rogers: A Troubadour's Life, was the winner of the 2018 Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal for Florida Nonfiction. Horovitz lives in Jacksonville where he serves on several non-profit boards while pursuing his musical interests by playing in two bands.


4:15 to 5:15 PM - Diane Roberts with Gilbert King

A native of Tallahassee, Diane Roberts is an American author, columnist, essayist, radio commentator, reviewer and professor at Florida State University. She has written four books: Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America; Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and other Florida Wildlife; Faulkner and Southern Womanhood; and The Myth of Aunt Jemima. Roberts is also a documentary-maker for the BBC.

Gilbert King is the author of three books, most recently, Beneath a Ruthless Sun. His previous book, Devil in the Grove, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2013. King has written about race, civil rights, and the death penalty for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and he is a contributor to The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. His first book, The Execution of Willie Francis, was published in 2008.


5:30 to 6:30 PM - Southern Mystery Writers: Roger Johns and Steven Cooper

Roger Johns is a former corporate lawyer, a retired college professor, and the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries. He is the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective / Mystery Category, a 2018 Killer Nashville Readers’ Choice Award nominee, and a finalist for the 2018 Silver Falchion Award for best police procedural. Along with four other crime fiction writers, he co-authors the MurderBooks blog at www.murder-books.com.

Steven Cooper is a freelance writer, video producer, and the author of four crime and mystery novels. A former investigative reporter, he has received multiple Emmy awards and nominations, a National Edward R. Murrow Award, and Associated Press awards. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Cooper has lived a bit like a nomad, working TV gigs in New England, Arizona and Orlando, Florida, and following stories around the globe.


Sunday, April 14

1 to 2 PM - Jack Davis

Jack Davis received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea. He also wrote An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, a dual biography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the Florida Everglades; and Race Against Time: Culture and Separation in Natchez since 1930. His other works include The Wide Brim: Early Poems and Ponderings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas; Making Waves: Female Activists in Twentieth-Century Florida; and The Civil Rights Movement. With his former student Leslie Poole (UF Ph.D. 2012), Davis is currently editing a new edition of Wild Heart of Florida, a collection of personal essays and poems about natural Florida. In January 2018, he signed a contract with the publisher of The Gulf, Liveright/W.W. Norton, to write a new book, employing the working title Bird of Paradox: How the Bald Eagle Saved the Soul of America.

Read more about The Gulf and Jack Davis!


2:15 to 3:15 PM - Barbara Hamby with Ken Tucker

Barbara Hamby is the author of several poetry collections, including All-Night Lingo Tango; Babel, which won the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize; and Delirium, which won the Vassar Miller Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Her short story collection, Lester Higata’s 20th Century won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize/John Simmons Award. Hamby’s poetry has also been featured in numerous anthologies.

Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. A cultural critic, he has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications. Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television.


3:30 to 4:15 PM - Dan Ames

Dan Ames is a USA TODAY bestselling crime novelist, living in Estero, Florida. He is originally from Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism. His stories include mysteries, thrillers, westerns and a novel set in Italy during World War II, based on a true story. His novels have topped bestselling categories both at home and abroad, and his first book of poetry, Feasting at the Table of the Damned, was a finalist in the GoodReads Choice Awards. He is the author of the Jack Reacher Cases.


4:30 to 5:45 PM - Journalism in the South: Challenges and Changes - Julie Hauserman, Colette Bancroft and Joseph McSpadden

Julie Hauserman is a longtime Florida writer who has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, once in 1991 for her stories about pollution in Florida's Fenholloway River, and once in 2001 for her stories about arsenic leaking out of pressure-treated lumber all over America. She won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards' top environmental prize for her work on the arsenic stories. Hauserman was a Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Tallahassee for seven years and has been a long-time commentator for public radio. Her new book is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of a man who swam inside the planet - Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.

Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. In 2007, she became the Times’ book editor, writing reviews, interviewing authors and helping to direct the annual Times Festival of Reading. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. She reads about 150 books each year.

Joseph McSpadden’s love for folk, blues, and country rock led him to start writing for www.theflamestillburns.com. In 2014 he was selected by No Depression for the launch of the ND Live feature, and for two years reported on live music from the famed Birchmere listening room in Arlington, Virginia. He has interviewed rock, folk and blues artists including Hall of Famer Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield), The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna, and blues men John Mayall, Guy Davis and Grammy nominee Eric Bibb, among others. He currently is a regular contributor to okra.magazine, and his work has also appeared in Style Weekly.


For a full Word of South schedule, please visit: https://www.wordofsouthfestival.com/2019-schedule/.

Please note: Much of this biographical content is from a variety of sources, including but not limited to the authors themselves, Word of South, Wikipedia, Amazon, Google Books and Goodreads.