The University of South Florida in St. Petecelebrates its students who are graduating with a creative writing certificate Monday, April 20, 6 to 9 p.m., at The Chattaway. Lynn Waddell, author of Fringe Florida, is the featured speaker. Student readers include Rachel Roth, Brendan Schlesinger and Amber Morical. This event is open to the public. Also, Waddell is currently raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. If she reaches her fundraising goal, she’ll rappel a St. Pete high-rise in costume Saturday, May 2. Donate to her cause here.
Michael Chabon once compared the dominance of comics by the superhero stories to a hypothetical alternate reality in which 90% of all literature was made up of romance novels about nurses. Chabon meant this is a dig at the narrowness of the comics industry – but, as Michel Fiffe’s Copra amply illustrates, working within the constraints of an established and slightly silly genre can give a really creative artist just enough limitations to go, well, completely berserk.
Bergen Street/Michel Fiffe
Copra, whose second collection shipped in late March, has been one of the most widely lauded indie comics of the last few years, despite trading in a seemingly tired formula – a team of washed-up, corrupted, broken, and otherwise compromised antiheroes are brought together as a secret agent team to fight evil, and maybe get their old lives back. It’s right out of the ‘gritty’ pages of books like Suicide Squad and Thunderbolts.
New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick brings her new book, The Second Sister, to the Dunedin Public Library Tuesday, March 31. A 6 p.m. reception will be followed by a book signing and author chat at 7 p.m. Bostwick is best known for her Cobbled Court Quilt Series. This program is sponsored by the Dunedin Public Library, The Dunedin Friends of the Library and Rainbow's End Quilt Shoppe.
Photojournalist Jim Richardson will visit the Straz Center Tuesday, March 31, 7 p.m. Obsession has ruled the richest parts of his photographic life. While no stranger to exotic travel, having traveled around the world five times for National Geographic, his greatest passions come to life in this intimate, humorous, and touching exploration of his islands of obsession, first in the outer reaches of the wild Scottish islands, and then in an isolated island you would never expect. Richardson shows how the greatest rewards come from burrowing deep into place and time. This presentation is a refreshing reminder of the deep rewards our world offers to those who seek them out. Regularly priced tickets are $25.
Tampa’s Inkwood Books celebrates two years since Stefani Hope Beddingfield assumed ownership of the store, which has been a part of the community for nearly 24 years. All day on Wednesday, April 1 – from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. – they’ll be offering 25 percent off all in-store, on-hand items.
If comic books have taught us one thing, it's that the hero must rise up against evil, no matter the damage the villain has caused. That lesson hits home for Blockbuster Comics owner, William Insignares, but the evil he has faced isn't a maniacal villain, but a treacherous flood brought on by cracked waterline from a neighboring pizzeria. (UPDATE/CORRECTION: We have been informed that investigations by both the location's insurance company and an independent contractor have determined that the leak did not originate at More Italian Pizza Bistro. We apologize for the error.) Beyond the damage to the treasured comics and memorabilia lies the real story though, how Insignares plans to strike back, for his store, and for his community.
Blockbuster is nestled between AMC Regency 20 and a local pizza restaurant in Brandon, at what would seem like the ideal spot for an independent comic book shop.
Owner William Insignares found out how problematic his location could be when he walked into his storage room to find a deluge of water that had crept in from the adjacent restaurant.
Valuable comic books and memorabilia, dating back to 1950, and spanning industry leaders Marvel, DC and Image comics were no match for the onslaught of the flood. Though many pieces were destroyed, Insignares vowed to not let the disaster end his tale.
“Inspired by comic book heroes, I decided to turn a bad situation into a good one,” Insignares said.
Sterling Watson: Suitcase City
Readings: Sat., March 7, 3 p.m., Haslam’s, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m., Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia Ave., Tampa. sunlitfestival.org.
Sterling Watson is satisfied.
We’re meeting at the St. Pete Yacht Club to talk about his new book, Suitcase City (Akashic Books), a gritty noir set in Tampa in the 1980s. Watson is clearly at home in the club, mulling the choice between crab cakes and prime rib as he sips a vodka martini. He’s a pink-cheeked, rounded 60-something, his blue button-down and dark jacket so freshly pressed this might be the first time he’s worn them. The shirt is unbuttoned to the middle of his chest, and wiry gray hairs plume out like a smoke signal for retiree sex.
The shared enjoyment of the written word has extended beyond the usual book clubs and internet fora. Lively, social, multi-genre events — such as the Kerouac Ride, Tampa and St. Pete zine fests and the Lucha Libro Tampa typewriter deathmatch — have brought us to a new chapter in Tampa Bay’s literary scene. The events are so pervasive that CL devoted an entire cover story package to it last July. In our feature “Word Play,” we shared plans in the offing for two new major annual festivals: Florida Bookstore Day, which debuted last November, and the SunLit Festival, kicking off this Saturday.
The new annual SunLit Festival comprises a broad range of word-centric events, all taking place March 7-15. T. Allan Smith, a retired book trader and newspaper editor, and Michael Slicker, owner of Lighthouse Books and chairman of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, co-founded the event to ramp up interest in events happening in and around St. Pete, and to celebrate the city and Florida’s connection to literature.
Kris Radish: Retired journalist, novelist, and purveyor of fine wines in downtown St. Pete is at it again. This time, she's moved up – to the second floor of the Plaza Tower Courtyard where her wine bar, Wine Madonna, lives. Upstairs, you won't find wine. What you will find is clothes. Specifically, women's clothes.
As many of you know, CL’s annual Fiction Contest has invited local writers to submit an original story, 3,000 words or less, that is inspired by a work of art in a gallery, museum, park or any other public locale in the Tampa Bay region.
Now, writers, we know you'll make any excuse to procrastinate, but please note that the deadline is 5 p.m. this Thursday, March 5. Time is running out to make your words immortal and fill your bank account with copious prize money — $500 for Judges' Prize, $250 for Readers' Pick — a worthwhile lode for most writers out there.
Piper Kerman, who wrote the book Orange is the New Black, which inspired the popular Netflix series, is coming to St. Pete this Thursday to give a talk at Eckerd College. Kerman, who went to prison on drug trafficking charges related to events from a decade before, wrote the book in large part to expose prison conditions for women, and a call for reform.