St. Pete Reads!! A new reading series for the "City of Writers"

*Warning.  Shameless Self-Promotion*

Ampersand Books, of which I am Editor-in-Chief, in partnership with the City, The Studio @ 620, and Zombie Nation Publishing, is introducing a new reading series.  We hope this kinda-monthly event will provide a showcase for our considerable collection of established local authors, a platform for newbies to show off their stuff, and a better venue for out-of-town writers traveling through on a book tour.  We hope to make St. Pete a cool place for tomorrow’s Greats to stop by and hang out. We’ve got the beaches, the bikinis, and, most importantly, a literate population sitting in the sun with books in their laps.  We hope to light up in neon great writers flying under the radar.  We hope there will be fistfights.

Now all we need is you.  The maiden voyage of ST. PETE READS launches next Saturday, May 22nd, at 7:30 P.M at the Studio @ 620.  Aaron Alper, Editor-in-Chief of Zombie Nation Publishing and mastermind of The Pier’s ZOMBIE ST. PETE extravaganza, will serve as your master of ceremonies.


Local noir novelist and St. Pete Times editor Ian Vasquez will headline, reading from his critically acclaimed second novel, LONESOME POINT.


Ampersand Books is also proud to present Joseph Riippi, who is flying down from New York to read, just for you, selections from his debut novel,DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! It’s a weird book, but you’ll like it.


Also from Ampersand Books, poet Benjamin Lowenkron is traveling down from Baton Rouge to humbly present to you his first poetry chapbook, PREACHER’S BLUES.

We’ve chosen an eclectic selection of genre and style to reflect the dynamic, diverse literary community of St. Petersburg.  There will be somber notes of sensitive genius, bursts of hilarity, and, as it should be, there will be beer.  There will also be a suggested donation of $5 to support the Studio.

Wander around downtown St. Pete, and you’ll likely rub elbows with some of the best-kept secrets in the city: award-winning novelists, Pulitzer-prized journalists, beloved poets, publishers, editors and spoken-word artists.  Over the past couple of years, St. Pete has given birth to at least three publishing houses from which the careers of artists and editors alike have been launched into national waters.  We’re home to one of the last independent newspapers not yet masticated into irrelevance by Faceless Conglomeration.  Appropriately enough, our city has also been officially crowned a “City of Writers.”

Only problem is: this all happens beneath the surface, quietly, around the tables at Kawha Coffee, the Globe, or Café Bohemia.  Most of us don’t know these literary treasure-people are here, and even those of us involved in the writing “scene” don’t really know each other.

Time for all the writers to come out of the woodwork.


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