Welcome to Keep St. Pete Lit!
Do you read? Do you write? Do you live in or around St. Petersburg? Well then, welcome to Keep St. Pete Lit, where we celebrate and promote the area’s literary community. Whether you’re a writer, a reader or just love the arts, we want you to help us Keep St. Pete Lit. Read and Write on, my friend!
Keep St. Pete Lit is a 501(c)3 organization.
Major support for Keep St. Pete Lit is provided by the J. Crayton Pruitt Foundation.
KEEP ST. PETE LIT celebrates and promotes greater St. Petersburg’s literary community – past, present and future – through arts, education and events with a literary twist. We are readers, writers and lovers of words who strive to bring an approachable, engaging literary component to St. Petersburg’s vibrant arts community.
Maureen McDole was born in St. Petersburg. She is a direct descendant of carnies, carpenters and fishermen. This do-it-yourself ethos in her DNA infuses every area of her life. As far back as she can remember she loved to write. Her first book of poems, “Exploring My Options,” came out in 2006. This was the first title from Summerfolk Press, which she founded with Gabriel Garling. In December 2008, Maureen graduated from USF-St. Petersburg with a BA in English Literature. Her second poetry book, “Longing for the Deep End,” was released in December 2011. Maureen is currently working on her third collection of poems. She is the recipient of St. Petersburg Art Alliance’s 2016 MUSE Award for Literary Arts. She is also the VP of Friends of the Mirror Lake Library. Maureen has been leading workshops and speaking about creativity for over 15 years. She founded Keep St. Pete Lit because she believes wholeheartedly in the power of literature to change the world.
Kathleen McDole was born at St. Petersburg’s Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront Medical Center). She is member of one of St. Pete Beach’s pioneer families along with her seven siblings. Growing up when the Gulf Beaches were still wild imprinted a love of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico on her soul. Kathleen graduated from St. Petersburg Junior College in 1972. After extensive traveling around the U.S. she got married and started a family. When the youngest of her four children was six months old she got a job at her family owned Friendly Fisherman Restaurant in John’s Pass Village. Thirty years later she is now the President of Friendly Fisherman, L.L.C. and Treasurer of Hubbard Enterprise. Kathleen is Board member of the John’s Pass Village Association. She served as the Promotions and Marketing Director until earlier this year. She chaired all of their events since 1998. Kathleen was twice the Pinellas Chapter President of the Florida Restaurant Accociation in 1996 and 2002. She served on the State of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Board from 1996-2012. She served as Chairman of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce in 1996. She is a Charter member of the Kiwanis Club of the Gulf Beaches since 2004 and has served as President, Treasurer and is currently Asst. Secretary. Kathleen also serves on the Miracle League Baseball team of Pinellas County as founding member, director and coach for physically and mentally challenged youth.
By day Jon Kile is a peddler of petroleum products, navigating a Glengarry Glen Ross landscape of cutthroat sales. By night he assumes the identity of novelist and child-wrangler. With an undergraduate degree in economics from Florida State University and graduate work in Florida Studies at USF St. Pete, Jon spent 12 years in non-profit fundraising. He now uses that experience to volunteer for causes he cares about. Jon’s first published novel “The Grandfather Clock” is available on amazon.com. He is writing his second and third novels, blogging at welloiledwriter.wordpress.com and cursing his editor.
At the age of ten, Matthew Jackson was partner in a successful school supplies business; at the age of fourteen his life’s ambition was to be a lexicographer and by the age of fifteen, while on a school field trip, he discovered he knew – just knew – that St. Pete was where he would end up. It’s been a love affair with business, the breathtakingly-nuanced English language and the Sunshine City ever since. His writing has been reviewed in Creative Loafing (however briefly), he teaches Comedy Writing and the Word Power class for the LitSpace Literary Arts Institute, with a vocabulary that even English teachers consult.
David Z. Morris coordinates the LitSpace St. Pete Writer’s Residency. He is a researcher, writer, and journalist who splits his focus between the sociology of technology, modernist poetry, and surrealist horror fiction. He currently covers technology, business, and society for Fortune, and his journalism has appeared in The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Aeon, The Japan Times, and other outlets. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Wag’s Revue, Milkfist, The Opiate, TL:DR, and Signal to Noise.
Shelly Wilson used her degree in creative writing to land such jobs as small town reporter, English teacher, overzealous editor, and tow truck driver – not necessarily in that order. While living in Denmark, she became enamored with Scandinavian furniture and Harald Bluetooth, and developed a mild addiction to romance novels; she endeavors to one day combine these disparate fascinations into a coherent story. Shelly currently works as an editor for the Gabber newspaper in Gulfport. She lives in St. Pete with her partner and a dog of disturbing intelligence.
Tracy Kennard is President of Your Virtual Footprint, a social media consulting and marketing firm based in St. Petersburg, FL. Her clients are both nationwide and local and include the St. Pete Arts Alliance, Keep St. Pete Local, St. Petersburg Presentation, First Night St. Pete and many others. Voted Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s Best Local Personality to Follow on Twitter in 2012 and 2013. Also currently serves as Director of Operations for the Warehouse Arts District Association (previously secretary of the Board of Directors and interim executive director). Tracy has 7 years of experience as a social media expert and trainer and over 30 years in business administration.
Courtney Walker was basically born a librarian. Raised by a beloved English teacher in the Tampa Bay area she grew up surrounded by books and PBS’s Masterpiece Theater. Her undergraduate degree is in English Education, and she has a Masters of Information and Library Science from the University of Washington’s iSchool. She taught high school English, creative writing, and art locally and abroad in both Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Now is a school librarian in St. Petersburg curating collections and managing a library makerspace. She has presented nationally and internationally at educational conferences about creativity in the classroom and libraries When she is not working on the next killer book list to share, you can find her adventuring in nature.