There are many amazing authors throughout the past century who have called Florida home. These authors have had great influence on their genres and on the culture of our great state. We take a look at some of the most iconic Florida authors below.
John D. MacDonald
John D. MacDonald was a crime and suspense author born in 1916. He did not move to Florida until his adulthood, but he was extremely influenced by the state throughout his career. He was an iconic figure in the crime and hardboiled genres. He even pioneered an environmentally conscience style of crime caper novels that is specific to Florida authors. This style has been highly influential to other Florida authors including Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a classic Florida writer born is 1896. She lived most of her life in rural Florida, so her books are a great way to explore the parts of Florida that aren’t often thought of. Her most famous book was The Yearling, a book about a young boy and his pet deer. The book is still often required reading for school children. It was made into a movie in 1946.
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in south Florida. He has worked as writer for the Miami Herald since 1976 where he currently has a regular column. He has written many books that take place all around Florida. Most of his books are crime novels for adult readers but he has also written several kids’ books with environmental stories. Any of his novels are a great read for a taste of The Sunshine State and everyday Florida culture.
Ernest Hemingway did not spend most of his life in Florida, but the state was an important part of his life. He moved to Key West in 1931. He wrote many of his most famous works during this time including “To Have and Have Not”, which takes place in Key West. You can visit Hemingway’s house, which is now a museum with daily tours.
Tim Dorsey is an author who grew up in South Florida. He currently lives in Tampa, Florida with his family. Before starting his career as an author he worked for newspapers in both Tallahassee and Tampa. He currently writes a series of crime caper novels in traditional Florida style.
Elmore Leonard was a novelist and screenwriter born in 1925. He began his career writing western novels but eventually switched to crime novels. He didn’t live in Florida permanently, but he did have a couple of houses in south Florida and he set many of novels there. His Miami crime novels are some of his most famous works. Many of his works have been turned into movies. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 87.
Harry Crews was a novelist and playwright who lived from 1935 to 2012. He graduated with a degree in English from the University of Florida, where he would eventually teach creative writing. He continued to live in Gainesville until his death. He is most known for his dark novels that focus on poor characters living in the south.
Pat Frank was a writer who lived between 1908 and 1964. He lived in Chicago, New York, and Washington when he was young, but he spent much of his adult life in Tangerine, Florida. It was here that his most famous novel, the post-apocalyptic “Alas, Babylon” was written. The novel was also set in a small Florida town based on his home.
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston is one of Florida’s most iconic authors. She was born in 1891 and grew up in Eatonville, Florida, which was one of the first all-black towns in the United States. She wrote many stories about the African American experience including her most famous novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Her House is now a museum that is open to the public and her home town of Eatonville holds an annual festival in her honor.