A Festival of Words

The Florida Heritage Book Festival took place last Saturday, September 26, in the student center of the lovely Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. I attended the all-day free event which consisted of hourly sessions with various published writers in different classrooms at the same times. The writers described their books and their writing processes. The most difficult part of the day for me was choosing some and rejecting others. There were so many offerings that intrigued me. One of my favorites was the hour with Ben Montgomery, who wrote “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk”. It is the true story of a 67year old grandmother and farmer who’d raised eleven kids and one day walked away from an abusive husband with only a change of clothes and little money and hiked the very primitive 800 miles of the 2050 mile Appalachian Trail in 1955, alone. After all sorts of adventures, she made it to the top of Maine’s Mount Katahdin, no small feat in itself. She wasn’t especially happy about the fame she attracted, yet went on a few years later to hike the 2000 mile Oregon trail, because, she said, she liked to walk and she had nothing else planned for that summer.   In another session, I found out exactly where the island of Minorca(or Menorca) is located (very near the more famous Majorca, off the coast of Spain), important because a considerable number of it’s original inhabitants moved to St. Augustine centuries ago and have had lasting cultural effects on this city, including cuisine. The Menorcan heritage is still very much alive and well in this city.      Another venue that day, 100,000 Poets for Change, was represented by four inspirational St. Augustine poets who each read a sample of his/her own work…a beautiful and reflective pause in the day.  My final selection was the hour with University of South Florida (St. Pete)professor, Michael Francis, who described the very early years of St. Augustine’s battles for possession by England, Spain and France. His humorous and engaging manner brought to life the changing & volatile nature of life back then and included details of Pedro Menendez de Avilez, the 16th century Spanish admiral who managed to found the city of St. Augustine as well as to complete 50 trips across the Atlantic Ocean.    A huge array of books was for sale in a large area of the main floor by many different writers and bookstores.  Other than a small book titled, “The 14th Colony, George Washington’s Planned Invasions of East Florida”, colorfully described by its author, Dr. Roger Smith, I made no purchases at the time but have a serious wish list compiled. The University Press of Florida hadFlagler Rooftops from Plaza - Ink a large display over which I drooled. I desire the large book on “Everglades  America’s Wetland” with gorgeous photographs; “The Odyssey of an African Slave”, “The publication of a heretofor unknown slave narrative….who was also a victim of the trans-atlantic slave trade”; as well as “Healing Plants”, and all kinds of regional planting books and Oh so many books on historical aspects of Florida, including several different Native American tribes. Now you know why you might want to watch for this event next September. Flagler Tower & Palm Tree  -  Ink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>