Keep St. Pete Lit recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. That’s a big milestone for a popular but perpetually under-funded nonprofit dedicated to residents’ pursuit of literary outlets and offerings – along with learning opportunities vis a vis reading, writing and the spoken word.
Founder and executive director Maureen McDole explains the 2013 origins of her organization on today’s Arts Alive! podcast. “I wasn’t getting my needs met as a reader and a writer,” she says. Because she’d had two books of poetry published, and knew pretty much every prose and poetry writer in Pinellas County, McDole was approached by the Morean Arts Center to curate and construct an event “bringing together all kinds of poets and writers.”
One thing led to another, and 10 years later McDole is the center of St. Petersburg’s literary universe. Keep St. Pete Lit still puts on writerly (and readerly) events, but there are also writing classes on every level, taught by professionals, along with online writing courses, a poetry “midwives and editing” service, a regular interview podcast and more. The group also operates the “Banned Books Library” in the American Stage lobby.
McDole, a second-generation St. Pete native, discusses it all in this interview. Click on the arrow to listen.