5 Authors from Tallahassee that Need to be on Your Reading List

By Abby Cloud | Photo: Alfons Morales

For those who love to read books, there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing the book you’re holding in your hand or on your tablet is written by someone from your own hometown. Here are 5 authors who currently reside in Tallahassee that have quite the collection of novels, short stories, and essays.

David Kirby — Currently an English Professor at Florida State University, David Kirby is a distinguished author in addition to his acclaimed teaching career. Kirby has over a dozen books published, and specializes in poetry, creative writing, and nonfiction. He has received numerous acknowledgments for his books, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, his work, “The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems,” was a finalist in the National Book Award in poetry. Kirby published his latest book, “More Than This,” in August of 2019, his twelfth collection of poems. 

Elizabeth Stuckey-French — Another Professor from FSU’’s English department, Elizabeth Stuckey-French is an author that has published numerous short stories and 4 books: “The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa and Other Stories,” “Mermaids on the Moon,” “The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady,” and “Where Wicked Starts” (with Patricia Henley). Her short story works have been featured in many esteemed reviews, such as The Atlantic Monthly (“Mudlavia,” 2003; “Electric Wizard,” 1998), The Gettysburg Review (“The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa,” 1998), and The Southern Review (“Leufredus,” 1998), just to name a few. 

Ravi Howard — Ravi Howard is an Assistant Professor at FSU that specializes in creative writing, creative nonfiction, and African-American narratives. He currently has two novels published: “Like Trees, Walking,” which is based on a true story about  lynching in Alabama in the 1980s, and “Driving the King,” a story about the experiences of musician Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary. For Howard’s debut novel, he received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence in 2008. In addition to his novels, Howard has also written two short stories and two essays.

Jeff VanderMeer — Jeff VanderMeer is a Tallahassee resident who is the creative genius behind the New York Times bestselling “Southern Reach Trilogy,” including “Annihilation,” “Authority,” and “Acceptance.” This series of books won both the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award, and was featured on over thirty year’s best lists, including Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10. “Annihilation” has since been produced into a film and can be found on Netflix. VanderMeer is a three-time World Fantasy Award winner and 15-time nominee, and one of his fantasy series include the Ambergris Book Series. His latest book, “Bourne,” was published in April of 2017. 

Diane Roberts — Diane Roberts is another writer affiliated with FSU who primarily writes about Southern culture and the 19th and 20th century culture. Roberts has four books published currently, including the titles, “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,”” DREAM STATE: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and other Florida Wildlife,” “Faulkner and Southern Womanhood,” and “The Myth of Aunt Jemima.” Roberts also serves as an op-ed journalist for sources like The New York Times, and is a political columnist for the Tampa Bay Times.

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