ST. PETERSBURG, FL — It’s a wordsmith weekend in St. Pete for writers and book lovers at the sixth annual SunLit Literary Festival.
The festival kicks off at 6 pm Friday at The Factory and runs through Sunday featuring literature readings, live music, journaling at Sawgrass Lake Park, literary awards and more.
“We encourage everyone to buy tickets for tonight’s kick-off party, because all proceeds go to helping kids pay for one-hour tutoring sessions with writing, including essays and creative writing,” Keep St. Pete Lit founder, Maureen McDole, told Patch . “We have face-to-face tutoring programs set up to help students in South St. Pete schools improve their writing skills.”
Online tutoring is also available for Pinellas County K-12 students, and for college students through Keep St. Pete Lit’s learning programs.
Literary awards will begin at 6:30 pm at The Factory, and live music by Better Strangers starts at 7:30 pm Friday night.
St. Pete’s Wordier Than Thou is hosting its second “Wordier’s 1K Walk and Write (or Reading),” which is part 1K, part writing workshop, part silent read-in, part walking tour of St. Pete and part pub crawl.
Wordier Than Thou’s founder, Tiffany Razzano, told Patch at the Hangar St. Pete Wednesday as she mapped out the route for the event- the first one they’ve hosted was pre-pandemic. Wordier Than Thou had regularly scheduled events prior to March 2020, and since then, Razzano shared that as badly as they’ve wanted to have events, her organization kept people’s health as a priority since a variety of ages and different people have attended Wordier’s events since its founding in 2012.
“We did try to have events during the pandemic when it looked like coronavirus cases were calming down, and then suddenly they’d shoot up again, and we’d have to cancel an event or reschedule it out of safety precautions,” said Razzano , who is also the editor of Patch’s Sarasota and Bradenton sites. “I think we’re finally at a good point where the stuff that we’re doing is going to stick to the schedule. But we’ll always consider what’s going on COVID-wise as far as policies, cases and things like that, but right now we’re comfortable doing stuff.”
The Free 1K Writing, Reading Event Stops
- Folks participating in the event will meet Wordier Than Thou at The Hangar St. Pete at 1 pm
- The group will then wander off at about 1:45 pm, and make the following stops in this order: The Dali Museum garden, Pioneer Park, North Straub Park, Spa Beach at St. Pete Pier. The group will spend about 20 minutes at each stop to write, and if you don’t write, bring a book to reading. Razzano said if anyone needs writing prompts, attendees can draw a topic out of a hat.
6th Annual SunLit Festival Events
- Friday, April 1st – SunLit Festival Kick-off Party
- Friday, April 1st – Sunday, April 3rd – 39th Annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair
- Saturday, April 2nd – Poetry in the Park BLC
- Saturday, April 2nd – Mirror Lake Walking Tour With A Literary Twist!
- Saturday, April 2nd – Gulfport Historical Society Book Swap
- Saturday, April 2nd – Nature Journaling with St. Pete Audubon
- Saturday, April 2nd – Poetry Exploring Wildness : A SunLit Poetry Event
- Saturday, April 2nd – Children’s Poetry Night Hike
- Sunday, April 3rd – Kerouac Tour
- Sunday, April 3rd – Wordier’s 1K Walk and Write (or Read)
- Sunday, April 3rd – Fight Book
Razzano said she is aware that Sunday’s St. Petersburg forecast could possibly bring some rain, and she has a backup plan for the 1K in case rain shows up.
“I’ll keep an eye on the weather,” Razzano said. “I’ve been checking all week. I see isolated thunderstorms and a 40 percent chance of rain, right now. (Right now as in Friday morning) I’ll make that call by 11 am, Sunday. We can still meet for a write-in at the Hangar. And I’ll pick an arbitrary rain date – Saturday, April 15, same time, places, etc., for ‘Wordier’s 1K Walk and Write (or Reading).'”
Tour de Kerouac Event
The Friends of Jack Kerouac are hosting a guided bike tour featuring historical landmarks that Kerouac interacted with during his time living in St. Pete.
- Jack Kerouac stops include The Flamingo Bar on MLK Jr. Street North near 22nd Avenue North, St. Anthony’s Hospital, Al Lang Field, Haslam’s Books, The Manhattan Casino and Mirror Lake Community Library.
- Some of the stops will have live poetry readings.
- James Hartzell, president of The Friends of Jack Kerouac, recommended participants being water, sunscreen, a helmet and your own bike for the tour.
- It starts 10 am at The St. Pete Bike Co-op, and the route will take two hours. This tour does not include the Kerouac House. To participate, all that’s required is a sign-up via FriendsofKerouac@gmail.com.
For other outdoor festival events this weekend pertaining to the expected rain, McDole said hopefully the weather gods are too busy writing and reading, and they’ll forget to send rain our way.