Flying Under The Radar With Six Hip South Florida Writers
Last month, we introduced you to nine acclaimed authors who call South Florida their home, at least part-time. But that was just a small sampling. South Florida boats a tribe of critically acclaimed scribes living anywhere from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach County. Below are seven folks who are building on the tradition of hometown heroes like Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen (who actually now lives just a little bit further north in Vero Beach.)
Whether they're homegrown or just snowbirds, we're happy to welcome them.
Edwidge Danticat: The author of critical and commercial smash Breath, Eyes, Memory and a MacArthur Genius, Danticat first landed in Brooklyn from her native Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She earned her undergraduate and MFA degrees in New York and taught at NYU. She has called Miami home for several years. In 2011, she participated in this episode of the radio show State of the Re:Union, penning her own "letter" to Miami. Click here to listen to that piece.
Donna Gephart: This popular children's writer has a funny bent. Two books under her belt: How to Survive Middle School and her debut, As If Being 12-3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running For President! That award-winning yet mouthful of a title for her first novel has received high accolades from the authoritative Kirkus Reviews. Though she's a Philadelphia native, Gephart now resides in Jupiter, Florida and regularly hosts events around Palm Beach County.
Denise Duhamel: A Rhode Island native, Duhamel is one of the most prolific poets alive today. Since the mid-'90s, she's published some eight solo poetry collections as well as three collaborations with Maureen Seaton. She's won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, guest edited Best American Poetry 2013, teaches at Florida International University and calls Hollywood, Florida home.
Campbell McGrath: A lauded poet, McGrath hails from Chicago, receiving his B.A. from the University of Chicago, and then later pursuing an MFA from Columbia University in New York. Lured south by Florida's strange pull, he now lives in Miami Beach and, like Duhamel, teaches at FIU. Rather than shy away from claiming his new home state, he's embraced it, publishing a book in 2003 called simply, Florida Poems.
Elaine Viets: Like others of her mystery-writing peers, Viets started her career as a journalist, penning columns and hosting TV segments in both her native St. Louis, Missouri and later Washington, D.C. She's also churned out a series of crime thrillers, and when her fiction career began to take off, she eventually relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 1997. The city serves as a backdrop for novels in her Dead-End Job series.
Lynne Barrett: Known best for her short stories, this New Jersey native has won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for her mystery writing as well as a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She now lives in Miami and edits the Florida Book Review. Barrett also -- surprise! -- teaches at FIU, where she leads students working towards MFAs in creative writing.