If it’s February in Central Florida, it’s time for Rollins College’s Winter with the Writers. Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for the entire month, an acclaimed writer takes the stage to read from his/her work, talk a bit, and answer questions from the audience, and it’s all free.

Sy Montgomery and Christopher. Photo by Ian Redmond.
Sy Montgomery and Christopher. Photo by Ian Redmond.

This year’s lineup includes Antonio Skármeta, Chilean screenwriter, diplomat, and novelist whose book was adapted for the Italian film Il Postino; Central Florida’s own Philip Deaver, poet and author of Forty Martyrs, his soon-to-be-released collection of short stories; Chase Twichell, author of seven books of poetry; Ross Gay, poet and 2015 National Book Award Finalist; and Sy Montgomery, naturalist, documentary scriptwriter, author, and 2015 National Book Award Finalist.

Sy Montgomery is the author I’m especially looking forward to seeing on Thursday, February 25th. I read her book, The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, years ago, and anyone who writes so beautifully about a pig, my favorite animal, is someone I want to meet.

Her current book and National Book Award Finalist is The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, which focuses on the emotional and physical world of the octopus and the special relationship she develops with one giant Pacific octopus named Octavia.

bill-bryson-rollins-college
                     Bill Bryson

The last week of February is a great one for nonfiction writers. In addition to Sy Montgomery, Bill Bryson, author of many books, including my favorite and the subject of a recent movie with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, A Walk in the Woods, is also speaking at Rollins on Monday, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

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