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Best-selling authors to appear at the 11th Annual Eckerd College Writers in Paradise Conference

By Tom Scherberger
Published January 8, 2015
Categories: Public Events

Best-selling authors Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins), Andre Dubus III (Dirty Love), Jacquelyn Mitchard (What we Lost in the Dark) and John Searles (Help for the Haunted) are just a few of the award winning authors appearing for free public evening readings on Jan. 17-24 as part of the 11th Annual Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise.

Each reading begins at 8 p.m. and preceded by wine and cheese receptions at 7:30 p.m. where books will be for sale. Author signings will be held after each reading. Speakers are subject to change.

The Writers in Paradise Conference is an intensive, eight-day experience of intimate workshop classes, roundtables, panel discussions, readings, book signings and cocktail receptions designed for people who are passionate about writing.

Award-winning faculty and guest speakers will include Lisa Gallagher (Literary Agent with DeFiore and Company); Ann Hood (An Italian Wife); Laura Lippman (Hush, Hush); Meg Kearney (The Girl in the Mirror, Director, Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program); Peter Meinke (Lucky Bones); Lori Roy (Until She Comes Home); Les Standiford (Bringing Adam Home); Johnny Temple (Editor and Publisher, Akashic Books); David Yoo (Detention Club); Bill Contardi (Literary Agent with Brandt & Hochman Inc.); Sterling Watson (Suitcase City); and more.

2015 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference Evening Reading Series

  • Saturday, Jan. 17—Jess Walter, Q&A with Laura Lippman
  • Sunday, Jan. 18—Les Standiford and David Yoo Mon., Jan. 19—K.C. Wolfe and Patricia Engel
  • Tuesday, Jan. 20—Lori Roy and Pete Meinke
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21—No readings
  • Thursday, Jan. 22—John Searles and Sterling Watson
  • Friday, Jan. 23—Andre Dubus III and Ann Hood
  • Saturday, Jan. 24—Laura Lippman and Jacquelyn Mitchard

Saturday, Jan. 17

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including six novels, most recently the No. 1 New York Times bestselling Beautiful Ruins. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, the PEN/USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harpers, Esquire,McSweeney’s, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine and many others. His work has been translated into 28 languages. He lives with his wife and three children in Spokane, Washington.

Sunday, Jan. 18

Les Standiford is the author of15 books, including the novels Bone Key andHavana Run and the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise, Meet You in Hell, Washington Burning, and The Man Who Invented Christmas. Last Train to Paradise was one of the History Channel’s Top Ten picks. Meet You in Hell was the publisher’s nominee for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Washington Burning was the publisher’s nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. The Man Who Invented Christmas was a New York Times Editors’ Choice in 2008. He has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami. In March 2011, Ecco Press published Bringing Adam Home, an account of Det. Sgt. Joe Matthews’ twenty-seven-year quest to solve the 1981 kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh. The book became a New York Times bestseller and was for three weeks the No. 1 True Crime book on the Wall Street Journal list.

David Yoo is the author of the young adult novels Girls for Breakfast(Delacorte), an NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before (Hyperion), a Chicago Best of the Best selection, along with a middle grade novel, The Detention Club, (Balzer and Bray). His first collection of essays, The Choke Artist (Grand Central) was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. David has a regular column in Koream Journal, and teaches at the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College, as well as at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Monday, Jan. 19

K.C. Wolfe is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College and Faculty Advisor for the award winning Eckerd College student newspaper, The Current.

Patricia Engel is the author of the novel It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, and the story collection Vida, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, winner of a Florida Book Award and International Latino Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Barnes & Noble, and LA Weekly. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic,A Public Space,Boston Review, Guernica, and Harvard Review, among other publications, and have received numerous awards including, most recently, a 2014 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Miami.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Lori Roy’s debut novel, Bent Road, won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, and was named a 2011 New York TimesNotable Crime Book, and a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. Bent Road has been optioned for film by Cross Creek, with Mark Mallouk to adapt and Benderspink to produce. Her second novel, Until She Comes Home, was recently named a New York Times Editors Choice. Lori lives with her family in west central Florida.

Peter Meinke is Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, Florida. His most recent book is Lucky Bones (2014), his eighth in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series. His work has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and dozens of other magazines. He has published over twenty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Truth and Affection, published by the University of Tampa Press (2013), is a collection of his Poet’s Notebook columns with his wife Jeanne’s drawings, from Tampa Bay’s alternative newspaper, Creative Loafing. His poetry has received many awards, including two NEA Fellowships and three prizes from the Poetry Society of America. His book of short fiction, The Piano Tuner, won the 1986 Flannery O’Connor Award. Mr. Meinke directed the Writing Workshop at Eckerd College for many years and has often been writer-in-residence at other colleges and universities.

Wednesday, Jan. 21

No readings

Thursday, Jan. 22

John Searles is the author of the best-selling novels Help for the Haunted,Strange But True, and Boy Still Missing. For more than ten years, John has appeared frequently on NBC’s Today Show to discuss his favorite book selections. His essays have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post and other national publications. John’s latest novel, Help for the Haunted, won the American Library Association Alex Award and was named a Best Crime Novel of 2013 by The Boston Globe, a Top 10 Suspense Novel of 2013 by Amazon, and a Top 10 Must Read by Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City.

Sterling Watson is the author of six novels, including The Calling, Deadly Sweet, Blind Tongues, Sweet Dream Baby, and Weep No More My Brother. His most recent novel, Fighting in the Shade, was published in 2011 by Akashic Books and was described by Dennis Lehane as, “A brilliant, fearless look at the savage rites of passage that exist in the fraternity of American sports. A book as gripping and unforgettable as any in recent memory.” Mr. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Southern Review. He was director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College for twenty years and is the College’s Peter Meinke Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing. He teaches in the MFA program at Pine Manor College. His seventh novel, Suitcase City, will be published by Akashic Books in March.

Friday, Jan. 23

Andre Dubus III is the author of six books, including the New York Timesbestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir,Townie. His most recent book, Dirty Love, published in the fall of 2013, was a New York Times “Notable Book” selection, a New York Times “Editors’ Choice,” a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013.” Mr. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a 2012 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children.

Ann Hood is the author of ten novels, including the bestsellers Somewhere off the Coast of Maine, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer. She has also written two memoirs, Do Not Go Gentle: My Search for Miracles and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York TimesEditors’ Choice and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2008, a collection of short stories, An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life, and The Treasure Chest, a ten book series for middle readers. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and NPR’s The Story, and her essays and short stories have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, O, Glimmertrain, Tin House and many other publications.  The winner of two Pushcart Prizes, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and Best American Spiritual, Travel, and Food Writing Awards, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island. The Knitting Circle will soon be an HBO movie starring Katherine Heigl. Her new novel, An Italian Wife, was published in September 2014.

Saturday, Jan. 24

Laura Lippman is the author of eleven novels featuring Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan, seven stand-alone novels, and a short story collection. Her six most recent books have all been New York Timesbestsellers. Ms. Lippman has won numerous literary prizes for her work, including the Edgar, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity Awards. Her newest book and latest installment of the Tess Monaghan series, Hush, Hush hits the shelves February 24, 2015. A recent recipient of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, David Simon, their daughter, and her stepson.

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books for adults, young adults, and children, including The Deep End of the Ocean, the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. Her critically acclaimed books and stories have been translated into thirty languages, and have received many awards, including the Margaret Powers Award, Britain’s People Are Talking award, The Bram Stoker Award, and finalist for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. In 2013, Mitchard became Editor-in-Chief of Merit Press, a realistic young adult fiction imprint under the aegis of F&W Media, and an instructor in the Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. A longtime journalist and a contributing editor for More magazine, Mitchard lives on Cape Cod with her family.

For timely updates and photos, go to the Writers in Paradise Facebook page. For a complete calendar of upcoming Eckerd College public events, please visit


For more information, call (727) 864-7994 or visit