Florida: A Literary Treasure Trove (Really! )

Margery Marcus
Arts & Letters / Storytelling

Course Description

Yes! Really! Florida, well known for sand, citrus and flimflammers has contributed to this country’s rich literary tradition. Florida does not get the credit it deserves for inspiring a host of writers either born here or drawn here by our climate and culture. Ernest Hemingway arguably put us on the literary map, writing that Key West was the “best place I’ve been anytime, anywhere.” There he produced some of his best work in the mid-1930’s, a golden age in Florida’s literary history. That era gave us Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, capturing the African-American experience near Orlando, and Marjorie Kinnan-Rawlings Cross Creek stories, detailing life in rural Alachua County. Inspired by the state’s reputation as a breeding ground for scoundrels, authors of crime fiction have “made a killing” here. John D. MacDonald hit it big with the Travis McGee novels, each named for a color. McGee, a fictional character living in a real place, Bahia Mar Marina in Ft. Lauderdale, “reclaims” stolen property for a price. Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford novels feature a former government agent, trying to live a quiet life in Sanibel, continually interrupted by shadowy figures from his past. He even has a bar named after him in Fort Myers. Florida native Carl Hiaasen, though, wins the award for the most darkly humorous crime writer in Florida today. His novels depict the darker side of a state Hiaasen calls “the posterchild of nationwide dysfunction.” Dr. Marcus’ lecture includes a colorful PowerPoint and a reading list.

About the Instructor

  • Margery Marcus, Ed.D., retired from Broward County schools after a long and successful career teaching English. Well known for her storytelling ability, her topics run the gamut from book censorship to the British Royal family. She is a frequent presenter at OLLI programs on the campuses of FAU Boca Raton, Jupiter and, Brooklyn College. Her career has been guided by a deep love of learning which began when she read the very first page of “Charlotte’s Web” as a child. Marcus earned a bachelor’s degree in English from The College of New Jersey, a master’s degree in education from the University of N.C. at Charlotte and a doctoral degree in education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.

Upcoming programs presented by Margery Marcus.

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