literature

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

When Toni Morrison received her Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, her remarks began with a reflection on the phrase once upon a time. In her signature, measured cadence, Morrison told the Swedish Academy she believed these were some of the first words we remember from our childhoods.

Photos courtesy Arlo Haskell. Graphic by WLRN's Sundial.

Key West, a longtime home for poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Richard Wilbur, has selected Florida Keys native Arlo Haskell as the Conch Republic’s new poet laureate.

“We certainly have more than our fair share of poets, living and dead right here on this little rock,” he said in his remarks at a city commission meeting Tuesday. “As poet laureate, I’m going to try to build a genuine Conch Republic of Letters.”

Haskell will serve in the honorary role for two years. Though he has no official duties, he said he wants to make the island city’s poetry “a little easier to see.”

Patterson: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP Meltzer: Michelle Watson, Catchlight Group

James Patterson and Brad Meltzer have scores of best sellers between them, but it’s not because of a strategic, business plan-like approach. Both say they are writers, not business or marketing experts. They write about what interests them, not to fill an opportunity in the publishing market.

Both Patterson and Meltzer work from South Florida. Patterson moved to Palm Beach County in the late 1990s. Meltzer came here as a kid in 1983.

We do all it takes to feel the spirit of the holidays in South Florida -- even when it’s 80 degrees outside. 

For WLRN news staff, that often begins by thinking about our favorite holiday books. It’s a perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of an artificial fireplace with a good book -- maybe while sipping on some hot chocolate or taking a swig of coquito.

Alejandra Martinez

Author Patricia Engel first had the idea for her latest novel while driving in Miami with her mom more than 10 years ago.

When they drove over a bridge, Engel's mother told her a story about a man who threw a baby off a bridge. But she didn’t know any more details about the tragedy. That left Engel wondering.

This conversation led to what's now "The Veins of the Ocean," published in 2016, which tells a similar story. It's Sundial Book Club’s October pick.

After three members of the Swedish Academy resigned Friday, protesting its response to a long-simmering scandal, the committee known for awarding the Nobel Prize in literature has found itself in unfamiliar — and precarious — territory: Beyond examining the merits of an author's past work, as it does each year, the centuries-old group is now also facing questions about its own future.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The author of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie did not set any of his well-known plays in Key West.

But the island was his primary residence from the 1940s until he died in 1983. That’s a lot longer than a certain other famous writer.

Amy Tan loves jazz and classical music. "I have a Steinway, which was my life's dream," she says, sitting at her grand piano in the middle of her New York living room. When Tan listens to a piece of music, she imagines stories to go with it, so she always listens when she writes.

Going 'Home' To A Place They've Never Been: Cuba

Jul 31, 2017
CubaOne

For a lot of first-generation Cuban-Americans, Cuba is almost a myth. Grandparents talk about it at family gatherings, always insisting the music, the beaches and even the sugar was better there.

Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

It wasn’t at a fancy Calle Ocho hangout or even at a Cuban restaurant that the ten travelers on Cuba One Foundation’s next voyage met. It was at the childhood home of poet Richard Blanco, one of the guides who will be leading the literary trip to Cuba alongside anthropologist and writer Ruth Baher.

WLRN

This week on The Florida Roundup...

WLRN's Tom Hudson was live from the Miami Book Fair with a panel of authors from across the state to ponder a future in the age of Trump. 

For the first time, an American has won the Man Booker Prize, Britain's most coveted literary award. Paul Beatty will take home the award and the purse, 50,000 pounds (about $61,000), for his novel The Sellout, a satire about race in the U.S. Amanda Foreman, chair of the judges, called the book "a novel for our times," and said Beatty "slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with verve and a snarl."

Courtesy of VONA

The Voices of Our Nation Arts foundation workshop kicked off this week at the University of Miami.

When Zip Codes Become Poems

May 27, 2016

What is it

About this place

With

Sound and stories…

So salty.

That’s our ZipOde, a poetic ode to our zip code here at the studios in Miami: 33132.

Your zip determines the number of words in each line of the poem. So, for us, that’s three words, then three words, one word, three and two.

With our partner O, Miami poetry festival, we asked you to memorialize your own federally appointed numerical designation by writing ZipOdes.

More than 1,100 poems came in and they were a lot of fun to read.

Carol Tedesco

  There are a lot of mystery books set in Key West. And now there's a new addition to the list: Killer Takeout, the seventh installment in the Key West Food Critic Mysteries.

The series is by Lucy Burdette, pen name for Key West resident Roberta Isleib. She recently spoke with WLRN's Nancy Klingener about the new book and about the series.

What are the Key West Food Critic Mysteries?

Pages