RARA-AVIS: Florida Writers

From: David L. Wilson (dwilson@sccn.net)
Date: 15 Aug 2008

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    Until now I've been lurking on the topic, but what do people think of when the phrase "Florida Writers" comes up? Is this a group defined by geography or by any particular style? Do their stories take place in Florida? Harry Whittington, who would have to be one of the most prolific of the Florida group, seldom stepped foot outside the state but only infrequently used Florida as his setting. Bill Cox, who grew up in New Jersey, told me that he had moved to the Tampa area because it was, at the time, the cheapest place to live in the U.S. That probably meant that it was the cheapest place that he would accept living. He ended up on Ana Maria Key, where one of his neighbors was Wyatt Blassingame, a pulp horror writer who also wrote crime for Black Mask. When I think of Florida writers it is the postwar group centered around Tampa and St. Petersburg that included Whittington, Gil Brewer (from New York), Powell, Day Keene and his son Al James. When we get outside of that group I am quite a bit less familiar with the field. That's my bias, but the region certainly included many other writers and had an array of styles and personalities that was rivaled only by New York and Los Angeles.

    David Laurence Wilson Downieville, CA

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