Celebrate Local Authors

Web header. A sunset gradient with dark blue palm tree silhouettes. Left - A graphic with a pencil and the state shape of Florida. Celebrating Local Authors.

Presented by the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, the Sunshine State Book Festival works to connect local authors and readers. The 4th annual festival is set for Jan. 27-28, 2023. The best part? Admission is free! This year, over 150 local authors will be in attendance at the festival to sign and discuss their books. You can find the full list of attending authors online.

Many people know that authors such as Lauren Groff, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Ibram X. Kendi—among others—have called the Alachua county region home, but they aren't the only ones. We've included a list below of 2023 Sunshine State Book Festival authors whose books the Alachua County Library District owns. And this barely scratches the surface—be sure to browse our catalog for the full selection of local authors available to you. 


Interested in writing? The Alachua County Library District offers a variety of programs for writers and writers-to-be. You can find future programs on our Events page, just filter results to the "Books, Authors, & Writing" event type! And check out this upcoming event:

A square image with a blue textured background with the text "life is a story what does yours say?"

Writing Your Life Story - Millhopper Branch, Room A

Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. 

For those who are interested in writing their life story for family and friends. Come share ideas and get encouragement from others.


American Ghost

Janis Owens

The 2023 Sunshine State Book Festival Keynote Speaker

"A compelling, deeply rewarding novel from a unique southern storyteller, American Ghost is Janis Owens' richly woven story about how unresolved family history and the racial tensions of the past threaten a love affair between two young Floridians."

The Keynote Address is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 28. 

Islands of Cedars

Shana Smith

"January 1, 1923 - Rosewood Florida, a thriving African-American community in the Jim Crow South, was torched to oblivion by the infamous spark of one white woman's lie. Six innocent victims and untold gallons of blood and tears were left in the wake of the weeklong racist rampage that followed. Terrorized families were left homeless and on the run. Exactly one hundred years later, another spark has begun to burn: Hope. Here in the still wild heart of remote northwest Florida, race and ecology intersect in the small Gulf coast town of Cedar Key, where the past, present, and future of our relationships with each other and the planet converge. With hundreds of souls still without a resting place in both Rosewood and Cedar Key, the first victim of the Rosewood massacre, Sam Carter, is determined to find a way Home with help from the Native ancestors. Meanwhile, three descendants-Sam's great-grandson, the great-great-granddaughter of Seminole Indian matriarch Polly Emateloye Parker, and the son of the leader of a local Ku Klux Klan group-form an unlikely alliance as they learn to open their hearts and minds to increasing signals from ghosts of the past. By heeding nature, spirit, and their own sense of instinctive connection, they all work together to begin to change the patterns of history."

Reading by Shana Smith at 10:30 a.m., as a part of the Saturday Author Presentations. 

Matanzas Bay

Parker Francis

"When PI Quint Mitchell volunteered to help with an archaeological survey in St. Augustine, he didn't count on digging up a murder victim. In the nation's oldest city, Mitchell discovers links to ancient sins, comes face to face with his own past, and unleashes powerful forces that will do anything to keep their secrets-even if it means taking his life."—P. [4] of cover.

Reading by Parker Francis at 11:30 a.m., as a part of the Saturday Author Presentations. 

Dead Woman's Pond

Elle E. Ire

"Flynn tries to avoid the supernatural, but the infamous Dead Woman's Pond seems to want her for its next victim. To survive, she'll need to swallow her pride, accept her psychic girlfriend's help... and reckon with her own latent abilities."

Reading by Elle E. Ire at 2:30 p.m., as a part of the Saturday Author Presentations. 

Hell or High Water

Joy Castro

"Hoping she has caught a lucky break when she is assigned to write a full-length feature, ambitious young reporter Nola Céspedes becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in New Orleans at the same time questions emerge about her trustworthiness."

Reading by Joy Castro at 3:30 p.m., as a part of the Saturday Author Presentations. 

Local Lives in a Global Pandemic: Stories from North Central Florida

"Local Lives in a Global Pandemic: Stories from North Central Florida covers the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak in 2020. It is a snapshot designed to give readers insights into the thoughts and feelings of their neighbors, and for future generations, a window into the real-time experiences of those who lived through the ordeal. The book includes a preface from Lauren Poe, mayor of Gainesville, and entries from a long list of contributors. The essays were collected by the Matheson History Museum and the Writers Alliance of Gainesville. Contributions come from writers and non-writers alike. Victims describe their suffering. Medical personnel highlight their struggles. Young people decry being denied rites of passage such as prom and graduation. Teachers, parents, grandparents, public figures, and even a prison inmate give their perspective. While the stories are drawn from north central Florida, they will resonate with anyone who wants to get a deeper sense of how the world was blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Contributing authors who will be present at the 2023 Sunshine State Book Festival:

Descriptions provided by the publishers.
By Rin on January 27, 2023