New York City is known for being the epicenter of book publishing, and in times past I have often wished I lived in New York--if it had Florida-like weather. But I have decidedly stepped out of my wishing to be there to enjoying being here, and what I've discovered is a flourishing love of the literary arts in my local area. I really didn't need to look too hard. If you are ever in the Central Florida area or if you are a resident, be sure to check out these wonderful literary events and publishing organizations.
- Orlando Literati put on by Urban ReThink: The Friday night that I attended the opening reception for the UCF Book Festival, I could have gone 30 minutes down the interstate to an Orlando Literati meet and greet. The who’s who of the Orlando literary scene were meeting in downtown Orlando that same evening.
- Central Florida is also home to the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, located in Eatonville, FL. I attended a wonderful night of spoken word last year with world-renowned writer/poet and Rutgers University professor Tara Betts.
- Rollins College puts on a wonderful author lecture series called Winter With the Writers: A Festival of the Literary Arts. This year they featured a diverse group of authors, Carl Haissen, Mihaela Moscaluic, Paula McLain, and Chimamanda Adichie.
- Several publishers are located here: Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Charisma House, Echelon Press, Xulon Press, and other vanity or self-publishing presses.
- Florida Christian Writers Conference and Florida Writers Conference are both held in Central Florida, along with numerous writers groups and book clubs.
- University of Central Florida hosts the very lovely and culturally diverse UCF Book Festival in March. I have attended each year and each year it just gets better.
- Every year the Association for Christian Retail puts on the International Christian Retailing Show, and every few years it is in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. Being an editor in the Christian publishing industry, I use this time to meet agents, connect with my authors, and see what other publishers are putting out in the market to keep tabs on trends. This event is open to the public, much like BookExpo America (BEA) in New York.
What did I miss? Please share any literary event, book club, writers conference, or publisher located in the Central Florida area.