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Friday, September 25, 2015

SunLit Festival receives Best of the Bay Award

Michael Slicker and T. Allan Smith display Best of the Bay Award from Creative Loafing.
A new festival for book lovers launched last March in the week before the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, and we were proud to be part of it. The first annual SunLit Festival began on Saturday, March 7 and culminated with the book fair the following weekend. It was fourteen events in nine days, all celebrating the written word.

On Wednesday this week, Creative Loafing, the magazine-style weekly newspaper that covers the arts, entertainment, dining, and politics in the Tampa Bay area, presented an award to SunLit Festival in its annual Best of the Bay Awards. SunLit Festival was proclaimed the Best New Fest for Bookworms, an entirely appropriate title certain to be worn with pride.

The first SunLit Festival featured such diverse activities as honoring the Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, live literary combat, a tribute to the writing talents of Dave and Iola Brubeck, a focus on reading to infants, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of St. Petersburg's library, dramatic readings of local writers' works, a pub crawl with literature, an examination of how childhood reading shapes our lives, the opening night of the first season of the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival, a night hike in the woods with poetry, a celebration of Jack Kerouac, a Passover cookoff, word games with libations, and, of course, the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

It was the work of many individuals and organizations, who came together in the common cause of celebrating literature to produce an exciting series that drew attention to each of their efforts. It was a great surprise when Creative Loafing sent word that it was honoring SunLit Festival, and it was a great tribute to the efforts of so many people. It was all under the able guidance of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.

The future of SunLit Festival looks very bright, indeed, with planning now under way for the second annual edition. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair invites book lovers from all over to come to St. Petersburg for SunLit Festival and the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Below: A recording of a live streaming session from the night of the Best of the Bay Awards. For live streaming about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and things to see and do in the Tampa Bay area during these events, follow @FLBookFairPhoto on Twitter and Periscope. 

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