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Festival introduces novel goal

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 18, 2002

LARGO -- While the One Bay, One Book committee hopes everyone is already reading Killing Mister Watson by Peter Matthiessen, a kickoff party is planned from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Heritage Village and other parts of Pinewood Cultural Park.

Heritage Village is at 11909 125th St. N, Largo.

A variety of activities is planned for "Fall Into Fiction": wilderness walks, tours of historic homes and demonstrations at the Daniel McMullen Home for the Fiber Arts.

A 56-minute movie, Tales of the Everglades, will be offered throughout the day at the Harris School, and storyteller Annette Bruce will spin tales about Florida at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Heritage Village Church.

Actors from the Venue Theatre Collective will perform excerpts from Matthiessen's novel Killing Mister Watson at 2 p.m. in the Pinellas Room. Todd Thompson, singer and songwriter for the South Florida roots-rock band, the Dharma Bomb, will perform. The musical performances will be at 12:30 p.m. at the bandstand, 2 p.m. in the Pinellas Room and 3 p.m. in the church on the grounds.

Another 56-minute movie, Lost Man's River, will be shown at 2:30 p.m. at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art auditorium, across the bridge from the bandstand. It chronicles Matthiessen's journeys through the Ten Thousand Islands portion of the Florida Everglades.

Parking will be available at Heritage Village and the Gulf Coast Museum of Art and other parts of Pinewood Cultural Park. For information, contact Heritage Village, 582-2123.

The communal reading idea is one that has caught on in several communities and several states. It is believed to have started in 1998 in Seattle.

Killing Mister Watson has the intrigue of a good mystery, but is based on historical facts. As author Matthiessen learned when he published the book in 1990, there is not yet a definitive answer as to whether the successful farmer, entrepreneur and loving father was responsible for the murder of Western outlaw Belle Starr and more than 50 others.

After people in the Tampa Bay area read the book, they are encouraged to attend a book discussion group during October at local libraries.

The One Bay, One Book project will culminate with an appearance by Matthiessen at the St. Petersburg Times' Festival of Reading, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3, at Eckerd College.

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