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Sunshine State Book Festival January 24-26 2020

Celebrating Florida’s Literary Culture

Free Admission

Florida has an amazing literary history dating back over two centuries, and Gainesville is a leading center of literary culture where over two hundred writers, novelists, playwrights, and poets call home.

From naturalist William Bartram’s book Travels, penned in the 1770s, to bestselling authors of today, writers have succumbed to the charm of our area. The Sunshine State Book Festival will further an appreciation of reading and provide the opportunity for readers to meet and interact with authors.

   Free Prizes

A Sample of Noted Authors Who Resided In Gainesville:

Robert Frost

Robert Frost


Harry Crews

Harry Crews


Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman


Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


Notable Regional writers († indicates author is deceased)

Literature/Novels: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings†, Harry Crews†, Zora Neale Hurston, Padgett Powell, Lauren Groff, Joe Haldeman, Jill Ciment, Lawrence Dorr, Charlotte Porter, James Haskins, Rick Yancy

History/Memoir: Michael Gannon†, Sudie Cauthen, Bob Mason, Kevin McCarthy, James Haskins†, Rick Kilby, David Coburn, Gary Mormino, Chris Monaco, John Pickard, Sidney Lanier†, George Barbour†, Daniel Schafer, Barbara Purdy, Jerry Milanich, Gary Libby, David Leavitt, Steve Noll

Naturalists/Environment: William Bartram†, John Muir†, Archie Carr†, Bob Knight, Bill Belleville, Lars Andersen, Cynthia Barnett, Jack Davis, Steve Noll, David Tedeger, Stetson Kennedy†, Margaret Tolbert, Murray Laurie, Gary Monroe, Kiki Carter

Poetry: Lola Haskins, Jimmy Schmidt, Robert Frost†, Angie Mlinko


museum exterior

View Friday reception photo album

Hemingway letters

Hilary Hemingway presented 75 of Ernest Hemingway’s letters to Santa Fe College

Fine Arts Hall

View Saturday Festival photo album

Book Festival

Saturday Presentations

Festival attendees were invited to attend six presentations and panel discussions by well-known authors and subject matter experts.

Hilary Hemingway

11:00 – 11:45 AM

Remembering Uncle Ernest
with Hilary Hemingway

Kevin McCarthy

12:00 – 12:45 PM

Gainesville’s Literary Heritage
with author Kevin McCarthy

Joe Haldeman

1:00 – 1:45 PM

An Interview: Books, Movies, and War with Nebula Award winner Joe Haldeman

Steve Noll

2:00 – 2:45 PM

Florida Sports History: It's More than just Fun & Games
with UF Professor Steve Noll

John Dunn

3:00 – 3:45 PM

Drying Up, The Fresh Water Crisis in Florida with freelance author John Dunn

View Saturday Speakers photo album

Lola Haskins

4:00 – 4:45 PM

How Heeding Florida's Past and the Natural Beauty That Survived It Can Change Our Future with Award-winning poet Lola Haskins


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Literary Heritage Tour and reenactments of Gainesville literary figures

Kevin Rainsberger

Kevin Rainsberger reading Robert Frost at the Thomas Center where Frost resided.

J. D. Sutton

J.D. Sutton portraying William Bartram at Paynes Prairie State Preserve.

Mimi Carr

Mimi Carr read Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and prepared one of Marjorie’s recipes at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ State Park.

View Sunday Heritage Tour photo album

Sunshine State Book Festival

was made possible with the assistance of these gracious sponsors

Santa Fe College Florida Humanities Council Florida Humanities Council visit gainesville SFC Foundation Friends of the Library Bosshardt Realty Huntley Johnson TV-20 WSKY WKTK


The Sunshine State Book Festival is funded in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County, FL. Additional funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please consider becoming one of our sponsors for 2021