Dennis Lehane leads lineup at Eckerd College's Writers in Paradise in St. Petersburg

The 2019 Evening Reading series runs Jan. 19-26.

Writers in Paradise is the best-kept secret festival of reading in the Tampa Bay area. - Simon Cocks via Flickr/CC2.0
Simon Cocks via Flickr/CC2.0
Writers in Paradise is the best-kept secret festival of reading in the Tampa Bay area.

The culmination of every day of practicing their craft at Writers in Paradise comes to the participants in the form of a wine and cheese reception preceding each evening’s reading. When I first realized those readings weren’t limited to participants, I wondered why more of Tampa Bay’s avid literary community didn’t attend. Then I wondered why we here at Creative Loafing hadn’t done a better job of letting everyone know they could attend. That changes this year — take this year’s Books Issue as your formal invitation to head to these free nightly readings. Here’s who’s speaking when, and yes, they will sign the books after their reading, whether you bring your own or buy them on-site. But even if you don’t buy the book, every night these readings will open a portal to a new world.

While the conference itself focuses on the craft of writing, the evening reading series diverges from that focal point, just a smidge. While each writer will talk a bit about craft, each evening focuses more on the author’s work and answering questions from the audience. If you love the annual Festival of Reading every November, you’ll no doubt love this week-long, not-really-a-best-kept-secret-anymore, festival of reading every bit as much.
And yes, they’ll share the wine and cheese with you.

Jan. 19: Keynote, Dennis Lehane and on-stage Q&A with Les Standiford
Jan. 20: Andre Dubus III and Ana Menendez
Jan. 21: Dawn Davies, Major Jackson and Debra Dean
Jan. 22: Sterling Watson, Peter Meinke and Ann Hood
Jan. 24: Stewart O’Nan, Gerald Costanzo and Madeleine Blais
Jan. 25: Les Standiford, Helen Pruitt Wallace and Laura Lippman
Jan. 26: Pam Houston and on-stage Q&A with Andre Dubus III
Book sales are handled by the Eckerd College bookstore and yes, they do accept credit cards. Parking is free and ample; follow the signs to Miller Auditorium.

Writers in Paradise Evening Readings series | Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg | Jan. 19-26: Sun.-Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m. | 727-386-2264 |

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About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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