Florida Authors and Bookstores
Saint Leo University cares about and celebrates local authors, and enjoys supporting their voices! Use this page to learn more about local authors with books available in our catalog, as well as other notable local published authors, new releases, and local bookstores you can support.
Featured Florida Authors
Jack E. Davis
Jack E. Davis is a professor of history and the Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities at the University of Florida, where he specializes in environmental history and sustainability studies. In 2018, his book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in history.
He is the author of six non-fiction books:
Jack E. Davis is a Florida native, and currently splits his time between two “villes”: Gainesville, Florida, and Harrisville, New Hampshire.
Davis willl be giving a virtual author reading on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 7 PM. Click here for more information on the event and Davis' work.
Craig Pittman, (not to be confused with the wrestler of the same name,) is a Florida native and is currently a reporter and columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. In 2020 the Florida Heritage Book Festival honored Pittman as a "Living Legend."
Pittman is the author of five non-fiction books:
Pittman writes with a love for his home state, and with razor-shap witt and an environmentalist bent.
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen
Debuting at number 2 on the New York Times Bestseller List, Squeeze Me is another Hiaasen hit.
Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons, a prominent Palm Beach high-society matron--who happens to be a fierce supporter of the President and founding member of the POTUSSIES--has gone missing at a swank gala. When she's found dead in a concrete grave, the President immediately declares that Kiki Pew was the victim of immigrants who did this to express their anger at her political opinions. It turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. The real truth, though, is even stranger, and it takes Angie Armstrong, a renowned wildlife wrangler, to uncover the real lead as she is summoned to the island to deal with a mysterious influx of enormous, hungry pythons.
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther by Craig Pittman
Not too long ago, people thought the Florida Panther, the official state animal of Florida, was extinct--and it almost was! It would take a handful of people, from veterinarians to predator hunters and trackers, to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.
Pittman's book tells the story of the unsung heroes who saved these creatures with a healthy dose of his usual humor and a clear affection for the animal as well as the state as a whole.
Notable Contemporary Florida Authors
Photo credit to Belkis Lora.
Chantel Acevedo - Good for fans of: Literary fiction, immigration novels, Cuban literature and culture, YA literature, and Greek mythology.
Chantel Acevedo is the award-winning author of four novels, including Love and Ghost Letters, which was the winner of the Latino International Book Award; A Falling Star, winner of the Doris Bakwin Award, The Distant Marvels which was a finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and, her most recent release intended for adults, The Living Infinite. In 2020, her first YA novel, Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse, was published for middle-grade readers and was dubbed "Riveting and suspenseful" by the School Library Journal. A Miami native born to Cuban immigrant parents, her work often reflects on the hardships immigrants face, as well as a love for the place she grew up in, and a love of Cuban culture.
Photo credit to Daniel Portnoy.
Dave Barry - Good for fans of: Satire, comedic writing, dogs, journalism.
David Barry is a humorist author who wrote a nationally syndicated humor column for the Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005. He has written sixteen novels, including children's' novels such as Peter and the Starcatchers. He is also an author of many humorous non-fiction books, such as Dave Barry Turns 40 and his 2019 book, Lessons from Lucy, in which he discusses the lessons on happiness learned from his old dog.
Photo credit to Carl Lender.
Judy Blume - Good for fans of: Realistic young adult fiction, coming of age stories, sex-positive literature, banned books, feminist literature.
Judy Blume has been writing since her children were attending preschool and published her first book, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, in 1969. Although her first book did not ruffle feathers, her later books would deal with much more controversial topics, including menstruation, birth control, masturbation, and death. The controversies raised by her books, such as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Then Again, Maybe I Won't have caused the American Library Association (ALA) to name Blume as one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century. Despite the controversy, Blume's works are touted as being some of the first in young adult fiction to include these themes and can be important reading for young adults facing these issues.
Photo credit to Mark Dellas.
Edwidge Danticat - Good for fans of: Literary fiction and YA, memoirs, immigration novels, diaspora politics, discussions of mother-daughter relationships in writing, women of color in literature, Haitian-American literature, racial discussions in literature.
Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American author whose books have been the recipient of many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the 2018 Neustadt International Prize, the 2020 Vilcek Prize in Literature, the Story Prize, and the 2019 St. Louis Literary Award. She has also been a finalist for the American Book Award. Her debut novel Breath, Eyes, Memory was an Oprah Book Club selection. Danticat draws from her unique life experiences to create her powerful fiction and non-fiction works. She currently lives in Miami, Florida.
Photo courtesy of VJ Books.
Tim Dorsey - Good for fans of: Vigilante fiction, mysteries, mystery series, antihero main characters, and dark humor.
Tim Dorsey grew up in Florida and has been obsessed with its weirdness ever since. The main character of many of his works, Serge A. Storms, is an antihero vigilante that exemplifies a caricature of "Florida Man," such as Florida Roadkill and Hurricane Punch. Storms wreaks havoc across the state, condemning those he perceives as villains to death. Dorsey currently lives in Tampa with his wife and daughters.
Photo courtesy of Fantastic Fiction.
Patricia Engel - Good for fans of: Immigration novels, bicultural writing, literary fiction, and transnationalism in literature.
Patricia Engel is a Colombian-American author who currently splits her time between New York City and Miami. Her first book, Vida, was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Vida was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2010, and was named on the list of NPR’s “Best Debut of the Year.” In 2017, Vida won the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana award, Colombia's national prize in literature, making Engel the first female author to receive the award. Her novel, It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, received the International Latino Book Award in 2014. Her novel, The Veins of the Ocean, was awarded the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and named a New York Times Editors' Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. Her next novel, Infinite Country, will be released in 2021.
Arin Greenwood - Good for fans of: YA fiction, animal rights, dogs, science fiction, strong female protagonists.
Arin Greenwood is a former lawyer and Animal Welfare Editor for the Huffington Post, as well as an author. She is the author of Pork Bellies and The Saki Bottle, Tropical Depression, Save the Enemy, and, most recently, Your Robot Dog Will Die. She currently lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida with her husband, cats, and her non-robotic dog, Murphy.
Photo courtesy of Harper.
James Grippando - Good for fans of: True crime, crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers, mystery series.
James Grippando lives in South Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for twelve years and is the bestselling author of over thirty novels, including When Darkness Falls, Got the Look, Hear No Evil, and Last to Die. His latest novel, Twenty, part of the Jack Swyteck series, will be released on January 5th of 2021.
Photo courtesy of Kristin Harmel's Twitter account, @kristinharmel
Kristin Harmel - Good for fans of: Romantic comedy, historical fiction, and chick-lit.
Harmel is a novelist as well as a reporter for PEOPLE magazine. She has published thirteen novels, including How to Sleep with a Movie Star, The Sweetness of Forgetting, and her most recent release, The Book of Lost Names. She has also published a YA series titled The Dolls under the pseudonym Kiki Sullivan.
Tenea D. Johnson - Good for fans of: Poetry, science fiction, LGBT literature, environmentalism, strong female leads, authors of color.
Tenea D. Johnson is an award-winning speculative fiction author, poet, and musician Her work includes the poetry/prose collection, Starting Friction, as well as novels, including R/evolution: A Mosaic Novel, Evolution, and Smoketown, of which Publisher's Weekly wrote "the understated, lyrical prose makes even small moments feel triumphant." Her most recent release, Blueprints for Better Worlds, also features a companion site that includes resources for those who wish to help make the world a better place.
Smoketown won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award, while R/evolution received an honorable mention the same year. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, Shades of Blue & Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War, and Tangle. She's performed her musical pieces at the Knitting Factory and the Public Theater, among other venues.
Photo credit to Joe Rimkus Jr.
Carl Hiaasen - Good for fans of: Comedy, satire, true crime, Florida-based fiction, environmentalism, and journalism.
Native Floridian Carl Hiaasen has been called "America's finest satirical novelist" by The London Observer, and for good reason! Hiaasen has been writing satirical fiction about his home state since the early 1980's, and continues to publish to this day. In addition to his biting satirical fiction for adults, novels such as Tourist Season and Razor Girl, he has published six novels for children, such as Hoot and Chomp, all with an environmentalist bent. Hiaasen is also an accomplished journalist and has published collections of his columns as well as non-fiction books for adults. His latest novel, Squeeze Me, was released on August 25 of 2020 and debuted at number 2 on the New York Times Bestseller List for Combined Print & E-Book Fiction.
Find Hiaasen's books and articles in the library's catalog
Photo credit to Albert Lanser.
Elisabeth "Lisa" Lanser Rose - Good for fans of: Dogs, memoirs, true crime, comedic writing, feminist fiction, ghost stories, shocking themes, and controversial fiction.
Lisa Lanser Rose is an award-winning author, dog trainer, and a blogger for The Gloria Sirens. Rose spent her childhood living all over the world, and the places she's been and the people she's met are reflected in her work. Her first book, Body Sharers, was a top-five finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for Best First Novel. Body Sharers is a haunting tale of a young woman's survival and struggle to recover from childhood abuse, and is a stunning exercise in empathetic writing, offering a rare look inside the minds of some of the worst types of people humanity has to offer, in a way that does not demonize them. Her second book, For the Love of a Dog, is a memoir exploring Rose's journeys around the world and her experiences with animals, and the concept of whether or not animals have souls. (As a Roman Catholic, Rose believes that they do, and does not believe there can be a Heaven without cold, wet noses.) Rose currently lives in Palm Harbor, Florida, where she writes and publishes short fiction and personal essays, trains dogs, and is working on her first mystery novel.
Photo credit to Dan Hawk.
Karen Russell - Good for fans of: Literary fiction, short stories, comedic fiction, magical realism, Floridian literature, unusual settings, reptiles.
Miami native Karen Russell is an award-winning author. Her debut novel about a family of alligator wrestlers struggling to keep their family theme park open, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Swamplandia! was also included in The New York Times' "10 Best Books of 2011" and won the New York Public Library's 2012 Young Lions Fiction Award. Russell has also published three collections of short stories, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and Orange World. Her latest release, a novella titled Sleep Donation, has received rave reviews. Although a native Floridian, Russell currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
Photo credit to Pamela Vasquez.
Ian Vasquez - Good for fans of: Mysteries, boxing, immigration novels, crime fiction.
Belize-born Vasquez is the author of three mystery novels: In the Heat, Lonesome Point, and Mr. Hooligan. His work often pays homage to his home country of Belize, the struggles faced by those immigrating from Belize to the United States, and tie in his lifelong love of boxing, as well as his unique experiences while working on a psychiatric ward and counseling at-risk high school students while he received his MFA. He lives in Tampa Bay, Florida, and is a copy editor at the St. Petersburg Times.
Photo credit to Samantha Wilber.
Rick Wilber - Good for fans of: Science fiction, baseball, aliens, journalism.
Rick Wilber is an American author, poet, editor, and professor. His novel, Alien Morning, was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2017. He published two other novels, Rum Point and The Cold Road. He has also published over fifty shorter works, such as short stories, novelettes, and novellas. His work frequently involves baseball, which is not surprising since his father was Delbert "Del" Quentin Wilber, a professional baseball player.
* Note: This list is not comprehensive, many other great local authors will be featured in the future. If you have any suggestions for authors that you would like to have included on this list, please contact Delaney I. Rose by email at email@example.com.
Address: 33701 State Rd 52, St Leo, FL 33574
Phone: (352) 588-8344
Address: 14046 5th St, Dade City, FL 33525
Phone: (727) 822-3278
Address: 14145 7th St, Dade City, FL 33525
Phone: (352) 567-5001
Address: 38345 5th Ave, Zephyrhills, FL 33542
Phone: (813) 788-5458
* Note: This list includes locally-owned bookstores that are near the Saint Leo University campus in Saint Leo, Florida as well as the official university bookstore. If you know of any additional bookstores that should be included on this list or believe this list contains outdated information, please contact Delaney I. Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.