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Photos by Allison Durham, Laura Vickery, & Jenny Dearinger
After being postponed until April due to a January rise in COVID cases, our 2022 Sunshine State Book Festival still had nearly 100 authors participate in person. It was held Saturday, April 9th, at the spacious Oaks Mall in Gainesville, Florida, among thousands of mall visitors.
The following day, April 10th, the festival hosted presentations by five noted speakers at the Matheson History Museum:
Carol Velasques-Richardson is the Program Coordinator of the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, a Board Member of the Arts Council of Alachua County; Advisory Board Member with WUFT TV/Classic 89, UF; Chair, City of Alachua’s Parks Recreation and Culture; and Theater Director and Station Manager of WUBA (88.1 FM), High Springs, Florida.
Robert Knight, Ph.D., an environmental scientist, is the founder of the non-profit Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute. As Director of the institute, he has conducted health assessments for many of Florida’s largest springs and written numerous springs restoration plans. Knight served as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida for six years, teaching graduate-level courses in Springs Ecology and Treatment Wetland Design.
Robert Mason wrote Chickenhawk, a bestselling memoir of his year in Vietnam. He followed that with Weapon, a New York Times notable book, which was later made into a movie called Solo. He also wrote a sequel, Solo, and a second memoir, Chickenhawk: Back in the World.
Patience Mason (at podium next to Robert) wrote Recovering from the War, the book she wished she’d had when Bob came home from Vietnam. The book became a cult classic with veterans and their wives.
Paul Ortiz is director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and professor of history at the University of Florida. His book An African American and Latinx History of the United States was identified by Bustle as one of “Ten Books About Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You.” Fortune Magazine listed it as one of the “10 books on American history that actually reflect the United States.”