For over a decade Eckerd College's Writers In Paradise (WIP) program has help launch the careers of aspiring authors. Daniel Woodrell (Winter's Bone), Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried), Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog), Tom Franklin (Poachers), Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), and others have all graced the halls of Eckerd College and given eager residents the opportunity to experience their award-winning novels in a rare way.
This year marks WIP's 12th conference. This January, select students of all ages and backgrounds will travel to the college for the chance to better craft their voice. Though, you don't need to be a student at the conference to experience the stellar evening reading series.
This year's reading series will be kicked off by Pulitzer Prize winning author Gilbert King.
All readings take place in Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College and begin at 8pm, followed immediately by author signings. No tickets or reservations are required and seating is general admission. A light reception and book sale begins at 7:30pm in the Miller Auditorium lobby before each reading.
Here's the full literary lineup:
Saturday, Jan. 16
Gilbert King: Gilbert King is the author of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. A New York Times bestseller, the book was also named runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction and was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
Laura Lippman: Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.
Sterling Watson: Co-creator of the Writer's in Paradise Program and former Director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College, Sterling Watson recently published Suitcase City to wide critical acclaim. His first three novels are Weep No More My Brother, The Calling, and Blind Tongues. Deadly Sweet is the first in his Eddie Priest series of novels. He is a coauthor with Dennis Lehane (Eckerd College '88) of the screenplay Bad Blood. He served for five years as the fiction editor of The Florida Quarterly, and taught secondary English and later fiction writing at Raiford Prison. He has won four Florida Arts Council Grants for fiction writing.
Monday, Jan. 18
Ann Hood: Ann Hood has been published in The New York Times, The Paris Review, O, Bon Appetit, Tin House, The Atlantic Monthly, and Real Simple. Hood has won two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, Best American Spiritual Writing and Travel Writing Awards, and a Boston Public Library Literary Light Award. She is the author of The Knitting Circle, The Obituary Writer and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief.
Les Standiford: Les Standiford is the author of Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles, among other popular titles. Standiford is the newly appointed Director of the WIP program.
Tuesday, Jan 19
Scott Ward: Scott Ward is a Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College. He is the author of Wayward Passages, Crucial Beauty and is working on a Civil War epic. He has served as poetry editor of Southern Humanities Review and Shenandoah. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon) and Buck and Wing: Southern Poetry at 2000 (Washington and Lee) and journals, including America, Southern Humanities Review, Shenandoah, and The Christian Century.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil: Aimee Nezhukumatathil is Professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia, where she teaches creative writing and environmental literature. Recent honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of three poetry collections: Lucky Fish (2011), winner of the gold medal in Poetry from the Independent Publisher Book Awards and the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize for Independent Books; At The Drive-In Volcanoe (2007), winner of the Balcones Prize; and Miracle Fruit (2003), winner of the Tupelo Press Prize, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, the Global Filipino Award and a finalist for The Glasgow Prize and the Asian American Literary Award.
Campbell McGrath: McGrath has published numerous collections of poetry, including Spring Comes to Chicago (1996), which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. In awarding the prize, poet Garrett Hongo labeled McGrath’s unique tone “ironic romanticism.” The centerpiece of the collection, and one of McGrath’s best-known poems, is “The Bob Hope Poem,” a 70-page opus modeled on Robert Pinsky’s “An Explanation of America” and James McMichael’s “Four Good Things.” In a 2005 interview McGrath explained that the poem’s shape “is not a narrative but a symphonic structure.”
Thursday, Jan. 21
Laura Williams McCaffrey: McCaffrey is currently on faculty at Solstice, Pine Manor College’s MFA in Writing Program and at Pacem School and Homeschool Center. Her short stories have been published by Cicada, YA Review Network, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Soundings Review. Into the Vast, published by YA Review Network, won the SCBWI 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction.
Peter Meinke: Florida Poet Laureate (former St. Pete Poet Laureate), Peter Meinke has published eight books of poems in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series, the most recent being Lucky Bones (2014). His first book of short stories, The Piano Tuner (U. of Georgia Press, 1986), received the Flannery O’Connor Award.
Friday, Jan. 22
Stewart O’Nan: Stewart O’Nan’s award-winning fiction includes Snow Angels, A Prayer for the Dying, Last Night at the Lobster, and Emily, Alone. Granta named him one of America’s Best Young Novelists.
Andre Dubus III: Andre Dubus III is the author of Dirty Love, Townie, The Garden of Last Days and House of Sand and Fog (an Oprah Book Club pick and a finalist for the National Book Award).
Saturday, Jan. 23
Dennis Lehane: Dennis Lehane grew up in the Dorchester section of Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he’s published nine more novels with William Morrow that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone Baby Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; and Live By Night, which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2013. Morrow also published Coronado, a collection of five stories and a play. Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island have been made into award-winning films, and the film rights for Live by Night are under option to Warner Bros. with Ben Affleck producing, writing, directing, and starring.