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Guest Column

Festival of words shines light on writers

By DAVID AUDET, Guest columnist
Published August 31, 2007


The Tampa arts cooperative, the Artists and Writers Group Inc., has recently reorganized from its previous incarnation in the 1970s and '80s, when it was known for unique events, including the Artists and Writers balls in Ybor City.

The group is now developing partnerships with interested organizations to provide stimulating opportunities for our community to express and share its creativity. Deep Carnivale: A Celebration of Words, which is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 in Ybor City, is an example of this effort. This new literary festival will bring Florida authors, writers and poets together to share a celebration of literature and writing with the Tampa Bay community.

One goal is to excite our children and young adults about the pleasures of reading and using the written and spoken word creatively in its many wonderful and diverse forms. Another goal is to illuminate the numerous talented writers living in our community. A third goal is to give emerging authors an opportunity to develop their audience.

This free, family-friendly street festival will take place in the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District, along the brick-covered 14th Street (Republica de Cuba) from the corner of Ninth Avenue to Palm Avenue.

This venue was chosen for its proximity to Hillsborough Community College and the historical landmarks of El Pasaje, Ybor Square and the Cuban Club. The lovely, tree-lined HCC patio, the Ybor Room, and the Cuban Club will be excellent venues for the readings and performances.

Approximately 60 poets, fiction writers and songwriters, as well as visual artists, are presenting work. They represent a diverse range of writing styles, ages, experience and cultural backgrounds.

There will be three sound stages for readings, spoken word, original singer/songwriter performances and short plays. Arts and writing activities for children and adults will add to the celebratory quality of the day.

An "exquisite corpse," an art concept from the 1920s, will transform the arches of the El Pasaje building into 20 stanzas of an original poem that will come to light for the first time on Sept. 8, written and illustrated by 20 artists and writers.

The Artists and Writers Group, with enthusiastic support from Hillsborough Community College-Ybor and campus president Dr. Sylvia Carley, the Ybor City Development Corporation, the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative and the Cuban Club, expect this literature festival to develop into a historic districtwide, three-day event. Other sponsors include Tampa Review, the University of Tampa Press, Ybor City Saturday Market and Grown Man Brand.

With authors, artists, book sellers and community organizations involved; programming designed to appeal from the youngest to the most sophisticated; and with community support this inaugural event is well on its way to becoming a flagship event for Ybor City and Tampa Bay.

David Audet, director, Artists and Writers Group Inc.

Fast facts

Literary festival

Deep Carnivale: A Celebration of Words,a new literary street festival with Florida authors, writers and poets, will be held Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Events occur along 14th Street, from Ninth Avenue to Palm Avenue in Ybor City. Free. Call (813) 253-7674 for information.

[Last modified August 30, 2007, 22:32:02]

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