Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Florida Literary Arts Coalition;

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.

Committed leadership
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.

Stay involved
Ideas? Comments? Post on our Facebook page or email me at

Keep writing.  



Dr. James M. Wilson
President, Florida Literary Arts Coalition

Friday, July 12, 2013

By Decree: St. Augustine’s Proclamation

2013 marks the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s voyage and discovery of Florida. The 2013 Other Words Conference honors this historic milestone. Themed “Writing Florida: The First 500 Years,” the 2013 conference expressly focuses on Florida’s varied historical and literary masks while also providing a platform for seasoned and novice writers to continue the imagining of Florida.

The annual conference is held in St. Augustine, the nation and Florida’s oldest settlement. The historical backdrop of the city adds to the importance of this year’s honorific conference. St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles also recognizes the significance of the 2013 Other Words Conference.

The Mayor issued a City Proclamation officially declaring November 7-10 “Other Words” Conference week. The proclamation reads:


Whereas, the Ninth Annual 2013 Other Words Conference, sponsored by the Florida Literary Arts, has been held for six consecutive years at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, FL; and

Whereas, the goal of the 2013 conference is to bring together writers, editors, agents, publishers, book sellers, grant administrators, directors of writers' colonies and retreats, and other interested folk in one place; and

Whereas, themes for discussion include but are not limited to Fountains of Youth, Conquistadors and Missionaries, Robber Barons, Land Scams, Mosquitoes, Hurricanes, Hanging Chads, Spring Break, Retirement Villages—the Stuff of Life; and

Whereas, the discussion of Writing Florida: The First 500 Years, will include panels, readings, workshops, discussion of the literary arts such as how to write stories, make the information accessible to a large audience, how to sell it, how to fund it, and nurture it is a major emphasis of the 2013 Conference; and

Whereas, sessions will offer writers in-depth work with Other Words core faculty members; and

Whereas, the objective of the conference is to bring together hundreds of the region's literary arts people and form a regional coalition that promotes our mutual literary efforts in as many ways as possible.

Now Therefore, the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine does hereby proclaim November 7-10, 2013 as Florida Literary Arts Coalition “Other Words” Conference Week.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and do cause the Seal of the City St. Augustine, Florida, to be affixed on this 11th day of February in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and in the four hundred and forty seventh year of the founding of St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City.  

Signed, Mayor Joe Boles

We're looking forward to seeing you there!
Register Today!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

FLAC at Empower 500

The Florida Literary Arts Coalition will be making more friends at the Empower 500 Symposium on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We will invite Florida English teachers to come to our Other Words Conference, see our writers on the Writer's Circuit, and, perhaps, assist us assist them in our new literacy initiatives. See you there?   Empower 500 Symposium

Monday, July 1, 2013

Other Words Workshop Opportunities

Florida Literary Arts Coalition; Friend of Facebook

Join us for the Ninth Annual Conference of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition 
“Writing Florida: The First 500 Years”

Workshop Opportunities

Whether you're a novice or an advanced writer, three full days of workshops are designed to help you hone your craft.

Friday, November 8:
  • Writers of all skill levels can depict believable characters and memorable moments with Jeff Bens
  • Make personal life experiences accessible to readers in a poetry workshop led by Erica Dawson
  • Learn to visualize scenes in Pete Duval’s fiction session

Saturday, November 9:
  • Join Terri Witek for a hands-on poetry workshop, re-imagining the Crisp-Ellert museum
  • Balance scene and exposition in Ira Sukrungruang‘s memoir workshop
  • Mark Powell’s Fiction workshop will discuss Fiction “from the Bottom to the Top"

Sunday, November 10—Advanced Workshops
  • Non-Fiction by Ira Sukrungruang on the “Lyric Essay”
  • Mark Powell on “Reading Like A Fiction Writer” 
  • Take to the streets of beautiful historic St. Augustine to poetically remap the nation’s oldest city with Terri Witek. Be sure to bring good shoes, a camera, and a notebook for this one!

For more information on workshops, please visit our website.

Lodging in Historic St. Augustine

For 2013, 24 Bed and Breakfast Inns are offering a discount to Other Words Conference attendees. For a full list of participating inns, click here. A two-night minimum is required to receive the 15% discount. More discounted hotels can be found on our conference information page. Be sure to ask for the Other Words Conference rate to ensure you get the best deal!
Other Words Literary Conference