Literary Floridas: Imaginings in a Wild Peninsula

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
John King/
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Literary Floridas

Literary Floridas: Imaginings in a Wild Peninsula

As a setting, as an actual place in the world, Florida is usually imagined in satirical terms, the eternal provocation to comedians and crime writers with wicked senses of humor. The natural environment is overwhelming in its greenness, its flatness, it humidness, its infernal hotness, its weather, its beasts, and at times its citizens as well. Culturally, there is not much “Old Florida” to be found unless we count the primeval landscape.

This is in part a problem of scope: north Florida is where the American South ends, and the highways pass by the city of Orlando and its theme park corridor along I-4, while the Turnpike and I-95 will eventually lead to the subtropics in Palm Beach county, then down past Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and then the otherworldliness of the Keys, which end 90 miles from Cuba.

Yet the weirdness, remoteness, and wildness of Florida has been an appeal for many writers throughout the twentieth century, and a sense of literary history is emerging, as well as a sense of a vibrant contemporary Florida literary scene.

In this collection we seek essays that bridge the academic and creative writing worlds to consider the meaning of Florida as seen in literature past and present. We are interested in deepening the narratives around Florida and Florida history. While we prefer a creative nonfiction approach, this book’s essays must be academically sourced, and not simply duplicate other pre-existing scholarship (such as Hemingway in Key West, for example). If you wish to propose an already covered topic, then, please explain what your essay would contribute to the pre-existing scholarship. While this is an anthology, there will be editorial interstitial material to link the entire collection as a cohesive reading experience. Possible topics:

  • Key West and writers (Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, John Hersey, James Merrill, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, John Malcolm Brinnin, Alison Lurie, Robert Stone, Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison, Philip Burton, Judy Blume, Nancy Friday, Harry Mathews, Marie Chaix, Shel Silverstein, Wilfrid Sheed, David Kaufelt, Ann Beattie, Jimmy Buffett and Philip Caputo, among others).
  • Waiting for Godot’s North American premiere (at the Coconut Grove Playhouse)
  • Zoral Neale Hurston at Rollins
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  • Karen Russel
  • The Orlando Scene
  • Jack Kerouac
  • The Kerouac House
  • Crime Fiction
  • Florida Man
  • WDW Literature
  • Florida Space Coast (Alas, Babylon/The Right Stuff/The Four Fingers of Death/I Dream of Jeannie)

Please submit an abstract of between 200 and 500 words with a projected word count, as well as a brief bio (including institutional affiliation and relevant publications) by October 1, 2016. We will send invitations for full essays by October 31, 2016. We will expect completed original essays of approximately 2,500 to no more than 7,500 words by January 30, 2017.

How to Submit:

Submit via email to John King, Nathan Holic and Danita Berg

Use this subject line: ‘Literary Floridas Abstract – [Author First & Last Name]’

Paste your abstract and bio into the body of your email. Attachments will not be accepted.

Additional Details:

Original essays only. No reprints.

Anticipated 2018 publication date.

Publisher and Foreword TBA.

Compensation by way of contributor copies.

Authors retain copyright to individual works.

Co-Editor Bios:

 John King is the host of The Drunken Odyssey: A Podcast About the Writing Life. In 2003, he earned his PhD from Purdue University in English with a focus on Modern British and American literature. In 2010, he earned an MFA in fiction writing from New York University. His scholarship has appeared in Twentieth Century LiteratureThe Journal of Modern LiteratureThe Journal of Film and Video, and Shakespeare Bulletin, among others. His creative work has appeared in GargoylePainted Bride QuarterlyThe Newer YorkBachelor Pad Magazine, and the fiction anthology, 15 Views of Orlando. His novel Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame is forthcoming from Beating Windward Press.

Nathan Holic is the editor of the anthology series 15 Views of Orlando (Burrow Press), a literary portrait of the city featuring short fiction from Orlando authors. He is the author of The Things I Don’t See (a tiny but awesome novella, from Main Street Rag), and American Fraternity Man (a big, big (yet equally awesome) novel, from Beating Windward Press).  His fiction has appeared in print at Iron Horse and The Apalachee Review, and online at Hobart and Barrelhouse, and his prose and comics have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. He teaches writing courses at the University of Central Florida, where he serves as the Graphic Narrative Editor at The Florida Review. When the workday ends, he chases his three children around the house, hopelessly trying to prevent catastrophe.

Danita Berg chairs the English Department at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Recently she co-edited the pedagogical collection Creative Composition: Inspiration and  Techniques for Writing Instruction with Multilingual Matters, which was published in 2015. She has published creative works in journals such as RedividerSouthern Women’s ReviewBlack Market Review, and The Houston Literary Review, among others, as well as in the non-fiction anthologies including Press Pause Moments: Essays about Life Transitions by Women Writers and Shifts: An Anthology of Women’s Growth Through Chance. She is the founder and non-fiction editor for the online literary journal, Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College and Ph.D. in English at the University of South Florida.