Sign up to win prizes and for exclusive updates about this year’s festival

April 8-10, 2022

Word of South 2022

Nygel Anderson

Nygel Anderson is a profound drummer, educator, and musician from Tallahassee, Florida. With music running in his family, Nygel has always had a knack for rhythm. As a child, you could find Nygel playing on some pots, pans, drums, or even a desk! Nygel attended Augusta Raa Middle School and Lincoln High School and was […]

Read More…

Jenna Kernan

Publishers Weekly bestselling author Jenna Kernan writes domestic thrillers and fast-paced crime thrillers described by readers as “jaw-dropping,” “riveting,” “gritty,” and “gripping.” She received a 2021 Silver Falchion award nomination from Killer Nashville and is a 2021 bronze medal winner in the Florida Book Awards Popular Fiction category for her debut thriller, A Killer’s Daughter. […]

Read More…

Austin Bell

Austin Bell is an award-winning museum curator, author, and photographer. He has authored three books as Curator of Collections for the Marco Island Historical Society, including The Nine Lives of Florida’s Famous Key Marco Cat, winner of a 2021 Florida Book Award. Smithsonian curator Torben Rick calls the book “outstanding” and Laura Lott, president and […]

Read More…

Fabiana Striffler

Born in Germany in 1988, Fabiana studied jazz and classical violin at the university of arts in Berlin, UdK and the conservatory of music, Hanns Eisler. Her debut album Mahagoni was nominated by Deutschlandfunk Kultur in the category of “Best Album of the Year”. Her second album Sweet And So Solitary is considered “revolutionary in […]

Read More…

Brian Hall

Brian Hall is a bassist and composer with a deep knowledge of and passion for diverse styles of music spanning jazz, classical, and world music. His active performing and touring calendar sees him collaborating with international artists and regional symphonies. As Associate Professor of Music at Florida A&M University since 2014, he brings his wealth […]

Read More…

Julia Koets

Julia Koets is the author of PINE, The Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and Hold Like Owls. She is the winner of the 2017 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Book Award, the 2019 Michael Waters Poetry Prize, and the 2011 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Julia’s essays and poems have […]

Read More…

Mary Jane Ryals

Mary Jane Ryals, Poet Laureate of the Big Bend of Florida, won a fiction Florida Book Award for a novel (Cookie & Me). She also was a winner of the Yellow Jacket Press Chapbook (Music in Arabic) and has published four other chapbooks. She’s published a short story collection (A Messy Job), a full poetry […]

Read More…

Noel Zamot

Noel Zamot is the author of “The Archer’s Thread,” winner of the Gold Medal for Popular Fiction at the 2022 Florida Book Awards.  A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he moved to Tarpon Springs after serving in a Congressional economic development role in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. His writing career started as an undergraduate […]

Read More…

Johnny Bell

Johnny Bell is a two-timed published author of Young Adult fiction novels Take the Shot and The Dirt Court. He recently was honored as the 2022 Developing Author’s Gerald Ensley Award in Florida. Aside from writing, Johnny manages a monthly newsletter focused on literacy and popular book reviews, as well as creating read alouds for […]

Read More…

Jason Vuic

Originally from Punta Gorda, FL, Jason Vuic is an award-winning author and historian based in Fort Worth, Texas, who specializes in creative nonfiction.  He is the author of several books, including The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream (UNC Press, 2021), The Yucks! Two […]

Read More…