It’s mid-year 2013, and it’s time for an update on the status of our organization.
The Florida Literary Arts Coalition (FLAC) is thriving. Success at and knowledge of our craft requires connection to a large community of writers, and our board and our members are dedicated to the philosophy that writers must stay connected.
Bringing Florida writers together
Florida has many quality writing organizations, but none are more dedicated to producing contemporary literature, supporting quality independent publishing, improving creative writing pedagogy, and broadening access to publishing writers than FLAC. The distance between Florida’s writers and readers, its towns and cities, its colleges and universities, makes cultivation of our community a challenge; however, the Coalition’s projects, such as the Other Words Conference and the Writer’s Circuit, and our mission to connect academic writing programs and writers to Florida’s writing community, bridge this distance.
My first exposure to FLAC was in the fall of 2006 when I decided Flagler College would join as a member of the Writer’s Circuit. I did not know then I would become so personally involved and professionally motivated by this coalition. I was able to watch and learn from then President Richard Mathews and Treasurer Rick Campbell as they grew the Writer’s Circuit from five member institutions to ten and held the Other Words Conference each year. Since then, I have co-hosted the conference, served as secretary, and was recently elected president. My story is not unique. I am only one of many dedicated professionals across Florida who bring their passion, energy, and ideas to FLAC by joining its membership and leadership. One of our founding fathers, Richard Mathews stepped down as president in January to focus on new projects at the University of Tampa, such as their new MFA program, but he remains involved in FLAC as President Emeritus.
What’s in the future for FLAC?
We are preparing to celebrate our tenth anniversary next year. We have submitted a panel proposal for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Seattle in February. Rick Campbell is planning the schedule for the Other Words Conference for November, and he is even planning the conference for next year. Gianmarc Manzione and Rick have risen to the challenge of a growing Writer’s Circuit by splitting it into a two-part, two-coast tour, which begins this fall.
An area of future service for FLAC is in after-school programs for children. Reduced funding of the arts in public schools has caused a growing need for writers to work with schools. As an organization of writers, we have the resources to create and support creative writing projects across the state for after school and under served students. We recently secured partial financial assistance from Publix for this project. Lisa Lanser-Rose and I attended the Empower 500 Symposium to prepare for it.
Our future plans include incrementally growing the Other Words Conference while retaining its intimacy. The Writer’s Circuit will continue its high quality of visiting writers. FLAC will continue to support independent publishing, and increase the number of our member institutions. We have pursued grant opportunities to support our projects where appropriate.
Ideas? Comments? Post on our Facebook page or email me at email@example.com.
Dr. James M. Wilson
President, Florida Literary Arts Coalition