Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We're posting a post on posters! Win a free poster!

You're probably aware that the theme of this year's Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is Modern Literature: The truth and beauty of fiction. This, of course, refers to anything in fiction published in the 20th or 21st centuries.

It's our way of highlight one part of the vast book fair, one that offers books of many different sorts from the very rare to ordinary reading copies, antique maps, vintage prints and photographs, antique autographs by famous people on significant documents, and so much more.

Last year we highlighted children's literature with the phrase Pages of Wonder, and we had a poster of a youngster in awe of the wondrous things bursting forth from his head, presumably upon reading pages of the book that seems to be precariously balanced on his noggin. (An aside: Few fair goers realized that the young lad who was the model for that poster was the son of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair's manager, Sarah Smith.)

Next year's theme is Written Relics: Treasured Tomes from Papyrus to Paperbacks. We'll have more about that theme later but you get the idea. We're looking for something to focus on and talk about each year. That's why we have the themes.

But back to the main topic of this blog post. This year's theme also has a poster connected with it, and you see it above. We think it captures not only the spirit of the theme but also our tropical setting. We'll have copies of this poster available for sale for collectors (and you can even send us an email and reserve your copy if you want to do so) but we wanted to alert you to a little promotion we're doing related to this poster over on Facebook. There's a chance for you to win a free poster. Be one of the first ten readers to share this post on Facebook or elsewhere, and send us an email to claim your prize. The first ten emails received will be the winners. Send your entry to

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Okay, everybody, this is last call. Sign up now!

Sign up for the Book Fair Bulletin and get special insights into the upcoming Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, plus nifty ticket deals unavailable anywhere else. This special email report is coming soon but it'll be available only for those who sign up. We promise not to bomb you with a ton of emails, and we promise never, ever to share your email with anybody else. We'll just stay in touch two or three times a year, and especially just before the book fair (like now). It's FREE, and you can cancel it at any time (but you won't want to because the Book Fair Bulletin will be full of all sorts fun stuff.) Anyway, you've been alerted. Here's how you sign up.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Literature & Libation, a combination with allure

One of the parts of the upcoming SunLit Festival we're particularly fascinated with is the SunLit Crawl, a Pub Crawl with Literature. Our abiding interest probably has something to do with the fact that we're sponsoring it. Still, the lure of Literature & Libation (see what we did there?) would remain strong no whether we were helping to make it happen or not.

That said, we're particularly looking forward to the performances of actors portraying Dead Authors and the living writers portraying themselves and offering a glimpse into some of their work. We're indebted to Maureen McDole, president of Keep St. Pete Lit, and Corinne Broskette, executive director of Venue Theatre Collective, whose efforts and colleagues are responsible for making this event come to life.

It's free and it all takes place on Wednesday, March 11, in the middle of the SunLit Festival. It's also made possible by the generosity of the various businesses that have made their spaces available in the name of literature. Okay, and libation. We'd encourage you to make a night of it. Order food and drink from these establishments so they'll recognize this sort of literary activity as good for business  and want to do it again next year.

Here's the schedule for the evening. We hope you'll be able to make it. Of course, there are 13 other activities that are part of SunLit Festival. We encourage you to go to the SunLit Festival website and learn more about all of these events. Facebook Events are set up for each activity during the week. Click on the GOING button and share the link with friends.

SunLit Festival
Wednesday, March 11
6 p.m.

111 2nd Avenue NE

Foreword Before Party — 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sip poetic wines and get in the mood for literary revelry

1047 Central Avenue

Chapter 1 — 7 p.m.
Matthew Jackson: Ode to the art of the proper pub crawl.

Chapter 2 — 7:30 p.m.
Jack Kerouac: The road ended in St. Petersburg but the Beat king’s legacy lives on. Portrayed by Robert Gilligan

Chapter 3 — 8 p.m.
Patrick J.F.X. Smith: Aventura Loco, a mad Mexican adventure in the manner of Kerouac but very, very different.

Chapter 4 — 8:30 p.m.
Zora Neale Hurston: The toast of the Harlem Renaissance still tells the tales of her Florida home. Portrayed by Nyela Hope

1120 Central Avenue

Chapter 1 — 7 p.m.

Maureen McDole: Poetic musing about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Chapter 2 — 7:30 p.m.

Ernest Hemingway: The old bard of Key West and Havana at his poignant and macho best. Portrayed by John M. Lowe

Chapter 3 — 8 p.m.
Cathy Salustri, Jon Kile, and Shelly Wilson: "Three Bars"  — Three Authors. Three Chapters. Many bad decisions.

Chapter 4 — 8:30 p.m.
Jack Kerouac: The road ended in St. Petersburg but the Beat king’s legacy lives on. Portrayed by Robert Gilligan


1133 Baum Avenue North

Chapter 1 — 7 p.m.
Cathy Salustri, Jon Kile, and Shelly Wilson: "Three Bars"  — Three Authors. Three Chapters. Many bad decisions.

Chapter 2 — 7:30 p.m.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: The hard-drinking, Pulitzer-winning scribe of the Big Scrub has a soft side, too. Portrayed by Deanna Scott.

Chapter 3 — 8 p.m.
Gloria Muñoz: Internal and external spaces. Endangerment of culture and expression

Chapter 4 — 8:30 p.m.
Ernest Hemingway: The old bard of Key West and Havana at his poignant and macho best. Portrayed by John M. Lowe

2451 Central Avenue

Epilogue After Party — 9 p.m.
Beat era poetry and jazz into the night.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Modern Literature: One man's must-reads

Author Sterling Watson, co-director of Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, took time for wide-ranging interview on our theme for the 2015 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, Modern Literature: The Truth and Beauty of Fiction. This is an excerpt from that interview. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 13, 14, and 15 at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Early look at our 30-second spot for 2015 book fair

This is an early look at the 30-second TV spot that will be running on Bright House channels and on WUSF. Thank you to our broadcast and cable media sponsors.  You'll see featured in this spot some of the booksellers who participated in the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. They were gracious enough to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to let us record them for this promotion. They did this with little or no rehearsal and preparation, which is a tribute to their abilities. Most everyone will be back for the 2015 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, so when you see them tell them you saw them on TV or on Facebook or YouTube or wherever you happen to come across this video.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The first annual SunLit Festival, a lit lover's dream

We're excited to announce a brand new literary event in Florida, and more specifically in St. Petersburg. In the six days leading up to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, there were be myriad activities from which to choose.

Book lovers are going to be pretty sure this is what heaven is like. The first annual SunLit Festival begins on March 7 (that's the Saturday before the book fair.) Then all week long there will be literary face offs, a library centennial celebration, dramatic readings, a participatory exploration of books we read as kids, opening night of Shakespeare's As You Like It, and on it goes. You get the idea.

One of our favorite events is the SunLit Crawl, a pub crawl with literature. Four popular local establishments will play host and actors portraying dead authors and very much alive writers create fun as they take literature to the streets. It's probably one of our favorite events because we're sponsoring it. Truth is, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to be associated with such a fun event. It happens on Wednesday before the book fair. We think the picture above is kind of appropriate to represent the SunLit Crawl. It was taken in the 1950s in front of City Lights Book Shop with Beat generation writers and poets.

Below we're posting the news release that will give you a complete rundown of what's in store. Hooe you can make it to all of these events.

Sunlit Festival Celebration of Literature, March 7-15, 2015
Literary circles intersect with other arts and cultural endeavors during the SunLit Festival, a springtime celebration of literature March 7-15.  Fourteen literary events over nine days showcase St. Petersburg’s literary heritage and today’s vibrant literary community, raising the profile of our City of the Arts.

The SunLit Festival brings together various literary organizations and arts disciplines to celebrate literature, reading, and writing. The SunLit Festival is co-produced by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance with the program partners below.  For more please visit,, or

Participants and Schedule

1.  SunLit Festival Kickoff!  Honoring St. Petersburg’s Poet Laureate
The Friends of the Main Library will kick off the Festival and honor Peter Meinke, Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, who will receive the first annual SunLit Festival Award for lifetime achievement in letters. Award-winning writer Sterling Watson, co-director of the Writers in Paradise conference at Eckerd College, will be keynote speaker.   The Friends of the Main Library will present a collection of Mr. Meinke’s work for the Library’s collection. Mr. Meinke will read from his work.
Saturday, March 7
2 p.m.
St. Petersburg Public Library, 3745 9th Ave. North
Free Admission   

2.  Lucha Libro
Eight of Tampa Bay’s most daring writers will face off in live literary combat!  In Lucha Libro, two authors are given a random prompt and then they have five minutes to create an original piece of written brilliance, right before your eyes! After the frenzy of spontaneous creation, our combatants will present their work and a winner will be declared! Winners move on to the next round until only one remains! Theatricality and costumes encouraged!
Saturday, March 7

7 p.m.
Oleson Gallery Bloom Art Center, 910 5th Ave North
Free Admission

3.  Karla Harris sings the Dave and Iola Brubeck Songbook
Songs and stories about the great composer Dave Brubeck, who wrote with his wife, jazz lyricist Lola Brubeck.  Show will focus on her lyrics. Los Angeles pianist Ted Howe is featured with his trio.
Sunday, March 8
6 p.m.
Side Door Café, Palladium Theater, 253 5th Avenue North
Tickets: General Admission $22; Reserved $30

4.   Behind Baby Talk: Why Reading to Infants Really Matters

In “Behind Baby Talk,” James McHale details the real reason why reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers is so crucial.  The presentation helps distinguish “socio-emotional readiness” from “cognitive readiness,” explains why the latter is dependent on the former, and reflects on the attitudes and practices central to any effective undertaking seeking to support families and children’s success from the earliest moments of life. 

Dr. James P. McHale is Director of the USF St. Petersburg Family Study Center and Past President of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health.
Monday, March 9
6 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, 691 43rd Street South
Free Admission

5. Centennial Celebration Presentation with James Schnurr

Mirror Lake Library celebrates its 100th Anniversary!  Mirror Lake, located became an early reservoir for the small settlement in the late 1800s. Author, James Schnur has more than 100 images to share that take us back through the last century as the area around Mirror Lake transformed lower Pinellas as the first cultural and educational complex of the Sunshine City, home to the first schools of St. Petersburg and the Carnegie Library that celebrates its centennial in 2015. 

James Schnur is the university librarian for Special Collections at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and a member of the USF St. Petersburg faculty. He will bring some of his St. Petersburg Through Time books to sign
Monday, March 9
5:30 p.m.
Mirror Lake Library, 280 5th Street North,
Free Admission

6. Fiction Live
Local actors pair up with local writers! Writers submit short stories or excerpts from novels and the actors present a dramatic reading. Fiction Live will benefit Project Shattered Silence, a teen theater/storytelling project.
Tuesday, March 10
8 p.m.
The Studio@620, 620 First Ave South
Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door

7. SunLit Crawl - A Pub Crawl with Literature
Four dead writers. Seven living writers. Love. Hate. Life. Death. Hilarious laughter. Here’s where literature meets the street. It’s a moveable feast and a traveling circus complete with Rawlings, Hurston, Kerouac, Hemingway, and seven local writers sharing their pursuit of happiness, self-expression, and mad adventure at an avant garde coffee shop, an authentic Cuban restaurant, and a favorite local micro brewery.  SunLit Crawl drink specials at each venue.  Specific schedule TBA

Epilogue: It all ends in a Key West bar with Beat poetry and jazz. Produced by Keep St. Pete Lit and Venue Theatre Collective and Actors Studio. Sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.
Wednesday, March 11

7-10 p.m.
Genero Coffee Co., 1047 Central Avenue
Bodega Cuban Restaurant, 1120 Central Avenue
Green Bench Brewing Co., 1133 Baum Avenue North
Old Key West Bar & Grill, 2451 Central Avenue
Free Admission
Epilogue After Party begins at 9 p.m. at Butler’s Old Key West.

8. The Books that Changed Our Lives: The Secrets of Formative Reading
Renowned writing coach Roy Peter Clark will lead “The Secrets of Formative Reading,” an event that invites students, teachers, readers of all ages to come and think about and write about the books that changed their lives.  The date, March 12, is also the Kerouac birthday celebration, so don't be surprised if someone brings a copy of On the Road. Roy Peter Clark spent more than 20 years re-constituting his formative library, from nursery rhymes through novels he first read in college.  He will share his experiences revisiting these classics, and lead participants in a fun and creative writing exercise designed to bring our "old friends" back to life. Bring your own precious books to the session and show them off to others.
Thursday March 12
4 p.m.
The Poynter Institute, 801 Third Street South, St. Petersburg
Free Admission

9. St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival Opening Nigh
This is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies: As You Like It as you’ve never seen it before, with original music by Los Angeles music industry veteran Mark Matthews. This is St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival’s inaugural season.
Thursday, March 12
8 p.m.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
140 7th Ave South
Admission: Pay what you can
Performances: Thursday-Sunday, March 12-15 and March 19-22

10. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair
The 34th annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair will feature rare and unusual books as well as reading copies, antiquarian maps and prints, vintage photographs, ephemera, historical autographs, and related materials. More than 100 antiquarian book dealers from across the country gather each year for the three-day event at the Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg. This year’s theme: Modern Literature: The truth and beauty of fiction.
Info: and
Friday, March 13, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, 10-5 p.m.;
Sunday March 15, 11-4 p.m.

St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 4th Avenue North
Admission: Tickets $10 for weekend pass or $6 per day

11. Boyd Hill Poetry Night Hike
Local poets read their works during the Boyd Hill Poetry Night Hike
Saturday, March 14
6:30 p.m.
Boyd Hill Nature Park, 1101 Country Club Way South
Tickets: $3 adults; $1.50 children

12.  Jack Kerouac Night at the Flamingo Bar
A celebration of this great man’s life, times and art at the bar where he had his last drink.   Music and beat poetry, all in the spirit of Kerouac. The Brad Morewood beat poets are usually there and they read their work backed by a highly-skilled improvisational jazz band led by Russian symphony conductor JohnTeryl Plumeri and jazzy guitarist Kelly Green.  Between the poets are some of the best musicians anywhere, including Ronny Elliott, Eric Andersen, Phil Lee, Tom Scudiero, the Florida Boys and many more.  A full night of music, intimate and informal – as Jack would have enjoyed it – on the front deck of the bar, next to the large window-sized photo of the author staring out at nearby Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N.
Saturday, March 14
7:30 -11 p.m.
The Flamingo Bar, 1230 9th St North
Free Admission

13. Pass the Plate: The FHM Passover Cook-off
Recipes help keep our links to the past alive.  Celebrate the 1st Annual FHM Passover Cook-off, Sharing Testimony Through Food, with special recipes from local Survivors. The public will have a chance to taste the dishes and vote on their favorites, and local celebrity judges will present a Judges’ Choice Award. Author Joanne Caras will help kick off the new competition, and share her experiences compiling The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook, which is filled with survivors’ recipes and stories to pass down to future generations.   Stories and food tastings – what could be better?
Sunday, March 15
2 p.m.
Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 5th Street South
Free Admission

14. Get Lit with Keep St. Pete Lit
It’s part game night, part night at the bar – we’ll have word-minded games, so you can feel like getting lit makes you, well, more lit!
Sunday, March 15
7 p.m.
The Amsterdam, 1049 Central Ave.
Free Admission