What They Wrote and Where They Lived
As you travel around Florida on your back road adventures, you will find a lot of fun in recognizing settings and places from books you have read.
You will enjoy reading about the Florida writers we feature on this page.
Our definition of "Florida writer" includes both residents and non-residents, as long as they wrote about Florida.
To enhance your travels, these writers are listed under the places they wrote about or where they lived in Florida.
Authors are listed under at least one of the places they have lived or written about; there may be more places but we have to start somewhere.
To learn more about the author, just click on the link.
Randy Wayne White lives an adventurous life in Southwest Florida. He started writing non-fiction under his own name and fiction under a pen name. Finally he created Doc Ford, an adventurous marine biologist with a mysterious military background.
Totch Brown is the name he went by. His real name was Loren G. Brown, and he was born on March 12, 1920 and died on May 8, 1996. He wrote only one book, but that book enshrined him among the best Florida authors. He wrote about his life in the Florida Everglades.
Peter Matthiessen was not from Chokoloskee, but wrote compellingly about the life and times of pioneers in Southwest Florida. His "Shadow Country" is a 900 page book that includes "Killing Mr. Watson" and other stories that capture the place and times of this remote area.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for "The Yearling". She also wrote "Cross Creek" and "South Moon Under". She was one of the first authors to chronicle the lives of the hardy pioneers around Cross Creek known as Florida Crackers.
Zora Neale Hurston, author known for "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Dust Tracks on a Road", and many more classics. Although she was part of the "Harlem Renaissance" and well know in her day, she died penniless in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1960. The novelist Alice Walker (The Color Purple) discovered her unmarked grave and provided a decent gravestone.
Harry Crews was born on June 7, 1935 in Bacon County, Georgia and died in Gainesville, Florida on March 28, 2012. He taught at the University of Florida for 30 years, and is considered a master of Southern literature. He has created many memorable and freakish characters, and his novels are quite often strange, violent and dark.
Jack E. Davis is a professor of history at the University of Florida. He teaches environmental history and sustainability. Among his several works is his 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning work The Gulf: The Making of an American sea.
Michael Gannon is unique among Florida authors. He was born in 1928 and passed away on April 10, 2017. He wrote many great books about Florida and other subjects. During World War II, he was a member of the American Field Service. He was also a war correspondent in Vietnam. He was a professor at the University of Florida. Earlier in his life he was a catholic priest.
Diana Kanoy lives near Gainesville and considers herself “almost native.” While vacationing in Florida with her family from North Carolina at nine years old, she decided to someday make the Sunshine State her home. Her most recent book is "She Swims With Alligators" based on her personal experiences.
Kevin McCarthy was born in 1940 and lives in the Gainesville, Florida area. He is a Professor of English at the University of Florida in addition to being one of the most prominent Florida authors. His academic interests include English language and linguistics, history of the English language, and Floridiana.
Stetson Kennedy, at the time of his death, was one of the oldest living Florida authors. He was born on October 5, 1916 in Jacksonville, Florida, and died on August 27, 2011. He was still active in literary events and causes in Florida until shortly before his death. He was a Florida literary and civil rights legend, an award-winning Florida author and human rights activist, a folklorist, a labor activist, and an environmentalist.
Sidney Lanier was born in Macon, Georgia on February 3, 1842, and died on September 7, 1881, in Lynn, North Carolina. We include him on this page because he wrote "Florida: Its Scenery, Climate and History". He was a poet and musician, and one of the most famous literary figures in the South. His poem, "Marshes of Glynn", is recognized by most critics as a classic of American literature.
Jimmy Buffet was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Christmas Day, 1946, and is alive and well and still a great Christmas gift after all these years. He lives in homes in Florida, the Caribbean, and New York. He is famous as a singer, songwriter, businessman, and movie producer. He is also a talented writer. Recently (2019) I spotted him in a recurring acting role on the TV show Hawaii Five Oh.
Ernest Hemingway, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winner lived in Key West for many years. Most of his writing there was not about Florida, but "To Have and Have Not" has a Florida setting. Hemingway's home is still a popular Key West attraction.
Harriet Beecher Stowe , wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and one of the earliest Florida travelogues, "Palmetto Leaves". Upon meeting Mrs. Stowe during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said "so you're the little lady who started this big war.
Al Burt, author of "Becalmed in the Mullet Latitudes" and other classics about Old Florida. He was a former newspaper reporter and columnist for the Miami Herald. He was seriously wounded in an accidental shooting and moved to the quiet town of Melrose east of Gainvesville.
Vernon Lamme lived a lot of Florida history and reported on it for several newspapers. He also became the Florida State Archeologist. His books are "Florida Lore" and "More Florida Lore"
Patrick Smith, 1927-2014, historical fiction, wrote "A Land Remembered", a classic of Florida historical fiction. Also wrote "Angel City", "Allipattah", and other books with Florida themes. "A Land Remembered" is taught in many Florida schools because of its historical accuracy and relevance. Read about Patrick Smith's famous novel: A LAND REMEMBERED
Dave Barry was born on July 3, 1947, and is still alive and well in South Florida (which he loves to make fun of). This Florida author makes people laugh every day with his books and columns. When distinguishing fact from hyperbole, Barry frequently asserts: "I am not making this up".
Edna Buchanan was born in New Jersey in 1939. She is alive and well and lives in Miami, Florida. She is one of the many Florida authors who have been with the Miami Herald, including Al Burt, Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen. Her crime reporting career made her a successful novelist.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas lived to be 108 years old. She moved to Miami in 1915 to work for Miami Herald, owned by her father. She lived in Coconut Grove for the rest of her life and in 1947 she wrote a nonfiction book about the Everglades titled "River of Grass". This book and her activism resulted in Everglades National Park and a lifetime spent helping to save the Everglades.
James W. Hall was born in 1948 and is currently living in South Florida and Western North Carolina. He is one of the best educated and credentialed writers in our collection of Florida authors. He has a Ph.D., and can legitimately be called Dr. Hall. In spite of that - or because of that - he's one hell of a writer.
Carl Hiaasen was born in 1953 in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida suburb of Plantation. He is alive and well and living in South Florida. He may be America's greatest satirist, and is certainly one of the most entertaining Florida authors of modern times. In addition to his novels, he has been a reporter and columnist for the Miami Herald. Read about the hilarious book written jointly by Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Edna Buchanan and more: NAKED CAME THE MANATEE
Elmore Leonard was born in 1925 and died on August 20, 2013 at the age of 87. He lived in Pompano Beach and North Palm Beach, and divided his time between the Detroit area and Florida. His Florida home and the settings of many of his books has us including him among our Florida authors.
Roderick Billette lives in Tangerine on Lake Ola just south of Mount Dora. He is a Florida native who was born and raised in Lake County, and writes adventure stories and novels. Some of this work is in the Southern Gothic genre. Roderick has always been a writer, but has also worn other cloaks in his life.
Pat Frank was born in Jacksonville, but his most famous novel was "Alas Babylon". He wrote this dystopian novel about the aftermath of nuclear war while living in the unincorporated community of Tangerine south of Mount Dora. The fictional town of Fort Repose was based on Mount Dora. Read about Pat Frank's famous novel ALAS BABYLON.
Mike Miller is the author of numerous books about Florida, including several travel guides, and is the owner and publisher of several websites. In addition to writing, he has an active career as a consulting civil engineer.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH
Stephen Crane didn't make it to thirty, dying in 1900 at age twenty-nine. His books, including "Red Badge of Courage", are still being read more than a century after his death. We include him as a Florida author because his 1898 short story, "The Open Boat" was set in the sea off New Smyrna Beach
Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 and died in 1969 at the age of 47. He wrote about many subjects including spirituality, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His most famous work is probably "On The Road" written in the early 1950s, and "Dharma Bums" written while he lived in Orlando.
Jack Rudloe was born in 1943 and has spent most of his life as a marine biologist, environmental activist, and writer. He lives in the small town of Panacea on the Forgotten Coast. Some of his work has been inspired by personal correspondence early in his career with the novelist, John Steinbeck. He has written numerous books and articles, and is a widely recognized expert in marine biology.
Nick Wynne lives in Rockledge but was raised in McRae, Georgia. He has Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia. He was the Executive Director of the Florida Historical Society from1987 to 2008. He has written and published more than 25 books, many of them on history subjects.
Red Barber was born in Mississippi and raised in Sanford. He became famous as the radio announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees baseball teams. He got his radio start at WRUF at the University of Florida. His writings include "The Rhubarb Patch" , "Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat", and "Walk in the Spirit."
Bill Belleville was an environmental author and made documentary films. One of his best known books is "River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River." Another classic is "Losing It All To Sprawl", a comprehensive look at the continuing problems of Florida development.
John D. MacDonald, best selling novelist, mystery writer, and the creator of Travis McGee, star of 21 best selling mystery novels. He wrote hundreds of short stories and many novels, including "Condominium" and "Barrier Island". His novel "The Executioners" has been made twice into the movie "Cape Fear". Read about John D. MacDonald's most famous fictional character: TRAVIS MCGEE
David T. Warner was a member of a pioneer Florida family and wrote several books about the old days in the state. His best known work is "Vanishing Florida". He was a member of the "Liar's Club" in Sarasota. This was a lunch club whose members included John D. MacDonald.
Rex Beach One of the first Florida authors to be a big time financial success. His novel "The Spoilers" has been made into movies 5 times. He was the first president of the Rollins College Alumni Association. After his successful writing career, he became an equally successful Florida farmer and rancher.
ST. JAMES CITY (Pine Island)
Robert N. Macomber is an award winning writer, lecturer, and a real life seaman. He has experience as a military consultant and as an offshore racing captain. Robert is best known for his Honor Series. These maritime thrillers trace the life and career of U.S. Navy officer Peter Wake.
Raymond Arsenault is a professor of southern history at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus. He specializes in the social, political and environmental history of the American South, and has carved a special niche among Florida authors for this kind of writing.
Jeff Klinkenberg was born in Miami in 1949 and is alive and well and living in the Tampa Bay area and North Carolina. He started exploring the Florida Keys and the Everglades in his childhood, and has been a keen observer of the cultural changes in the state over the years.
Gary Mormino was born January 31, 1947 and is alive and well and living in the Tampa Bay area. In addition to being a Florida author, he is a full professor at the University of South Florida, and has written several books about Italian Americans and a large work about Florida.
Jan Godown Annino was born in 1952, grew up in rural New Jersey. Her father retired while Jan was in middle school and they moved to the Sarasota area. She is a 2011 Florida Book Awards gold medal winner in children's literature for her first children's book. She has written about the Seminole culture, including her book about Betty Mae Jumper
Gene M. Burnett was born in 1928 and died in 1992. An Army veteran of World War Two, he was a newspaper editor and author who wrote articles about Florida history for Florida Trend magazine. His monthly articles have been assembled into three Florida's Past volumes that document interesting events in Florida's history.
Tim Dorsey. Tim is one of the genre of Florida authors like Carl Hiaasen who take Florida's craziness and make it even crazier. Serge Storms is the "hero" in most of Tim's books. Serge's sidekick is Coleman, a lovable drunken pothead. Serge has a psychological illness that make him a serial killer. He takes meds to control his illness, but often stops taking them because he hates the side effects.
E Lynne Wright is a native of Pennsylvania who moved to Florida years ago. She has written several books that have been published by Globe Pequot, including "It Happened In Florida" and "Remarkable Florida Women". She has also published many short stories in magazines and anthologies.