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Best-selling authors, Pulitzer winners to share insights with storytellers

Five Pulitzer Prize winners and several best-selling authors will share the secrets of their trade at the Storytellers’ Summit May 14-16 at the University of Florida.

The workshop, sponsored by the College of Journalism and Communications, is aimed at helping all sorts of storytellers, from novices to veterans, from writers to photographers.

Speakers will include:

  • Michael Connelly, author of several best-selling novels, including “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “The Poet,” “Blood Work” and “City of Bones.”
  • Pulitzer winner Rick Bragg, whose trilogy of memoirs includes the best-selling “All Over but the Shoutin’” and “The Prince of Frogtown.”
  • Pulitzer winner Lane DeGregory, honored last year for her moving “Girl in the Window” for the St. Petersburg Times.
  • Pulitzer winner David Finkel, author of “The Good Soldiers,” an account of the war in Iraq named one of the year’s 10 best books by The New York Times.
  • Pulitzer winner Thomas French, author of “Unanswered Cries” and “South of Heaven.”
  • Pulitzer winner Liz Balmaseda, who recently published her first novel, “Sweet Mary.”

Several other novelists, including Tim Dorsey (“Gator-a-Go-Go”), Tom Corcoran (“Hawk Channel Chase”), Fabiola Santiago (“Reclaiming Paris”) and Kristin Harmel (“The Art of French Kissing”) also will speak, as will several visual storytellers, a literary agent and a book editor from New York.

Bill Frakes of Sports Illustrated and Melissa Lyttle, a St. Petersburg Times photographer who covered the earthquake in Haiti, will discuss visual storytelling. Damien Cave of The New York Times will also talk about his experiences covering the Haitian disaster.

Literary agent Jane Dystel, whose agency represented President Barack Obama at the beginning of his writing career, will discuss the important first steps for a beginning writer. Amy Cherry, senior vice president of W.W. Norton, a revered independent book publisher, will talk about how authors should get their books before editors. John Byram of the University Press of Florida will also speak about writers should go about getting their books published.

The summit will feature specific areas of special focus:

  • Writing about entertainment: Several authors, including Victor Bockris , Ellis Amburn and Holly Gleason, will discuss their careers writing about Hollywood and the music business.
  • Writing biographies: Bockris (“Warhol: The Biography”), Amburn (“The Sexiest Man Alive, a biography of Warren Beatty”), John Capouya (“Gorgeous George”) and William McKeen (“Outlaw Journalist,” a biography of Hunter S. Thompson) will share their experiences.
  • Writing about health and sports: Men’s Health contributing editor Ted Spiker, a UF faculty member, will discuss his role in writing two phenomenally successful series of books – “You: An Owner’s Manual” and “The Abs Diet.”

The University of Florida Bookstore will sell books onsite and authors will be available for book signings

Registration for the workshop is under way. General registration is $160 for both days or $80 for each day. Students and educators pay just $60 for both.

The workshop begins with an opening ceremony and reception on the evening of Friday, May 14. Most of the events will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on May 15-16.

The Web site for the workshop is

Posted: April 20, 2010
Category: College News
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