The sixth annual SunLit Literary Festival, a celebration of the literary arts in St. Petersburg, will begin April 1 with the Roy Peter Clark Award, honoring an area resident for contributions to reading, writing, literacy and community.
The nominees for the award, named for veteran Poynter Institute writing coach Roy Peter Clark, are:
Alsace Walentine and Candice Anderson, proprietors of Tombolo Books; Colette Bancroft, author and book editor of the Tampa Bay Times; Eric Deggans, author and television critic for National Public Radio; Holly Slaughter, supervisor of elementary language arts for Pinellas County Schools.
“I am so proud to have my name associated with these champions of literacy and democracy,” said Clark. “St. Petersburg is known around the nation as a City of Writers. We are a place with a lot of great stories to tell.”
The prize was established by the St. Petersburg Press in 2020 to honor the achievements of “men and women of the word,” Clark explained. Because of the pandemic, it has not been awarded until now.
The awards ceremony, and a St. Petersburg Press “Meet the Authors” cocktail reception, open the Sunlit Kickoff Party (6 p.m.-midnight) at The Factory. The festival, a presentation of the literary nonprofit Keep St. Pete Lit, continues through April 3 with a variety of programs in different St. Petersburg locations.
Themed around Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, the April 1 kickoff party will feature unique art installations, live music, food and beverage trucks and more.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to Keep St. Pete Lit’s child literacy program.
Kickoff tickets are available here.
The SunLit Literary Festival continues with the 39th Annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair (April 1-3, St. Petersburg Coliseum).
April 2 events include Poetry in the Park BLC (Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center), Mirror Lake Walking Tour With A Literary Twist (a collaboration with Preserve the ‘Burg), Gulfport Historical Society Book Swap (Gulfport History Museum), Nature Journaling with St. Pete Audubon (Sawgrass Lake Park), Poetry Exploring Wildness: A SunLit Poetry Event (Tombolo Books), Children’s Poetry Night Hike (Boyd Hill Nature Preserve).
April 3 events: Tour de Kerouac (a guided bike tour in collaboration with the Friends of Jack Kerouac group), Wordier’s 1K Walk and Write (or Read), Lucha Libro (eight of Tampa Bay’s most daring writers face off in “live literary combat,” thestudio@620).
All details and ticket information can be found here.