2023 marks a decade of the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival where we’ve come together around our literary community and shared in narrating Jacksonville’s story. Over these ten years, we’ve shared poems in arcades, performed interpretive readings at the Jessie, and shared the words of many. We’ve also built a community, and that community is growing. We are deeply thankful for the unwavering support and contributions of past directors and JaxbyJax pioneers, Tim Gilmore, Brad Kuhn, and Darlyn Finch Kuhn. Their vision has brought JaxbyJax to where it is now, and part of their vision looking forward seeks to grow and evolve our literary community across story genres, continue strong community partnerships, and provide opportunities for diverse thought. Facilitating these upcoming changes, JaxbyJax is happy to announce that they have appointed Erica Saffer as Lead Director for the 2023 JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival. We are excited to see how her vision advances the momentum of the movement that is JaxbyJax!
Darlyn Finch Kuhn introduces 2023 Lead Director Erica Saffer
Click on musical note at bottom right corner of video to hear sound.
Video produced and narrated by Brad Kuhn
The theme for 2022's festival was "This is Jacksonville."
Here's a word from JaxbyJax Founder & Director Emeritus, Tim Gilmore.
We are pleased to announce the receipt of an Alternate ROOTS Artistic Assistance Grant that will be used in part to sponsor monthly community writing workshops in 2023 at CORK Arts District, and writer honoraria at the Tenth Anniversary JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival at The Jessie Ball DuPont Center in December, 2023. The Mellon Foundation and The Ford Foundation co-sponsored the grant, which we greatly appreciate!
Through the continued generosity of the JaxNEXT100, Moving the Margins, Brad Kuhn & Associates, LLC and Scribbles, JaxbyJax once again offered cash honoraria to the participating writers. We are pleased to announce that Happy Tapir Press founder Johnny Masiulewicz hosted one of the reading rooms, as did Director Emeritus Tim Gilmore, author of the historical blog, JaxPsychoGeo.
Seven writing workshops were presented from 10 - 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 29th:
"The Not-So-Secret Life of a Ghostwriter" by Vic DiGenti
"Writing Flash Memoir" by Damon Thomas
"Writing the Bop Poem" by Yvette Angelique
"Writing the Rondolet Poem" by Lynn Skapyak Harlin
"Emerging Technologies in Sci-Fi Writing" by Wynne Karnath
"This is Jacksonville" by Jennifer Wolfe of Women Writing for a Change
"Screenwriting in Jacksonville" by a Screenwriting Panel to include Sharon Cobb, Franklin Ritch, Alexa Wint, & Monique Madrid.
In addition, our FEATURED PLAYWRIGHT, Bobbie Garner O'Connor hosted a dramatic reading of her play, Screams Echo, on Friday evening, October 28th. Doors opened at 6 PM; reading started promptly at 6:30 PM, followed by a talkback led by 904WARD. View the promo video here.
Brilliant young writers from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, FSCJ, and UNF were featured in the Student Showcase. And, for the second year, poet Andres Rojas awarded the Dr. James Robert Cobb Student Writer Awards to six student writers at the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival Student Showcase on Saturday afternoon. There were three poetry winners and three prose winners. Cash prizes were $250 for 1st place, and $125 each for 2nd and 3rd places.
And 16 Jacksonville Writers Writing Jacksonville read from their work.
This celebration of Jacksonville talent would not be possible without the generosity, support, and enthusiasm of our sponsors. The writers and readers of JaxbyJax thank you!
In collaboration with
904WARD and The Jessie,
the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival
was thrilled to sponsor the
“We Have a Write to Our Futures”
Writing Contest and Celebration.
To see the list of winners, click here.
2023 Community Writing Workshops
JaxbyJax will once again host workshops for students and members of the community to polish their writing. Watch this space for details.
For an alphabetical list of the 2022 writers,
click here to go to the Writers Page .
2022 Student Showcase
2022's JaxbyJax Student Showcase featured the work of talented Jacksonville students from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, UNF, and FSCJ. Teacher/Writers Tiffany Melanson, Mark Ari, Jenn Chase and Darlyn Finch Kuhn worked with the selected students to provide a great literary experience.
2022 Writer/Reader Coaching
Director and Improv Queen Barbara Colaciello offered to elevate and invigorate the presentations of writers selected to read at the 2022 festival in her studio at Bab’s Lab!
The coaching session was from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 15th, and there were only TEN spots available! Writers rediscovered their words in the moment and dispelled performance anxiety by claiming a spot by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The only drawback to being a reader at the JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival is not being able to hear all the other writers read their work. Thus the pre-party was born. A celebration held exclusively for the selected writers and sponsors to have an opportunity to read to each other on the Saturday before the festival, this year's event was hosted by the Jacksonville Literary Arts Alliance located in the Cork Arts District.
We appreciate the generosity of Erica Susan Saffer in sponsoring the pre-party in 2022. Watch this space for details!
2022 Book Signing
The selected authors with books for sale who wished to do so had pre-signed books available for purchase at Chamblin's Uptown and Chamblin's Bookmine. There were also books available for purchase and signing at the festival.
2022 Dr. James Robert Cobb Student Writer Awards
The 2022 Student Showcase was open for submissions through September 30. If you are a student at UNF, FSCJ, or DA (or if you are a teacher or parent of a talented student writer), please send contact information and a short story or set of poems (which can be read aloud in 15 minutes or less) to Darlyn Finch Kuhn at email@example.com.
Featured poet Andres Rojas once again awarded the Dr. James Robert Cobb Student Writer Awards at the Student Showcase from 12:30 - 2:30 PM on Saturday, October 29,
There were three poetry winners and three prose winners. Cash prizes were $250 for 1st place, and $125 each for 2nd and 3rd places.
Meet the 2022 writers below.
(Click on photo to see writer's name and bio.)
Julie Delegal - Featured Author
Julie G. Delegal is a freelance journalist and author living in Jacksonville, Florida. Through her writing in Folio Weekly, Jacksonville Magazine, Florida Politics Online and other media, Julie has developed a reputation as an advocate for education and social justice. She is also “editor emeritus” at Delegal and Poindexter, PA, for which she has written and edited for more than 25 years. She is the mother of three adult children. Seen is her debut novel.
Andres Rojas - Featured Poet
Andres Rojas, born in Cuba, came to the U.S. at 13. He currently edits for $ - Poetry Is Currency and has served as poetry editor for Compose and Bridge Eight, as well as reading for New England Review. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks and a full-length book, Third Winter in Our Second Country (Trio House Press, 2021). His poetry, featured in the Best New Poets anthology, was in AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Diode, Mass. Review, New England Review, & Poetry Northwest.
Bobbie O'Connor - Featured Playwright
Bobbie O’Connor’s 50 years as an advocate for social justice have fostered a deep commitment to create change through writing. She has written and performed Screams Echo as well as pieces for the Florida Times Union about violence against women and her own white privilege. She performed Gender in a Binary World at the Coming Out Monologues to increase understanding and diminish transphobia. She is focusing on women reclaiming their voice and self-authority after sexual abuse.
DamonThomas - Featured Memoirist & Workshop Leader
Damon Thomas is a sixth-generation Floridian who grew up on the banks of the Suwannee in rural Dixie County, FL. A kid there once burned down the Scout Hut, an old log cabin in the Cross City park. When asked why he just said that he was bored. All from the area could relate.
Small town boredom. Rural gloom. Damon has released 22 Spoken Word albums and 6 books on life in that Southern Gothic setting.
Monique Madrid 2
Monique Madrid is a festival organizer, indie film producer based in Jacksonville. In 2016, she co-created a comedy film festival called LOL JAX Film Festival providing a platform to local community filmmakers, actors/actresses, and comedians to showcase their short films and talent. The motto of the festival is “Love Our Locals while Laughing Out Loud”. She is the co-city producer of the Jacksonville 48 Hour Film Project, and was selected for 40 under 40 in 2020 by Jax Business Journal.
Sharon Y. Cobb - Featured Screenwriter Panelist/Workshop Leader
Sharon Y. Cobb is a member of Writers Guild of America. Her feature thriller, The Man in the White Van, co-written with director Warren Skeels, is scheduled for release in 2022. She has also written dozens of features and short films for 48 Hour Film Project filmmakers worldwide and won awards for many. Sharon is author of False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter and is author of Secrets to Writing A Killer 48 Hour Film Project Screenplay. She is a former publisher, editor & journalist
Ebony Payne English - Featured Screenwriting Panelist
Ebony Payne-English is a poet, filmmaker, Executive Director of The Performers Academy, and author of the graphic novel, The Random Happenings, as well as poetry collection, Secrets of Ma’at and New Reads Publishing release, Bits & Pieces: After Therapy For Black Women. Her film, Kuongoza, is winner of 2021 Detroit Black Film Festival. She boasts a 7 album discography. Ebony has taught workshops and performed at many national venues.
Franklin Ritch - Featured Screenwriter Panelist/Workshop Leader
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Franklin Ritch has been pursuing a career in film since a very young age. During high school, he met Britt McTammany, who would become his longtime friend, mentor, and cinematographer. Together, they produced several short films and web-series, assembling a tight crew of talented local artists. In 2014, he founded Last Resort Ideas, an independent studio dedicated to producing unconventional and insightful narratives through the medium of film.
Alexa is the President and Creative Director of Nicalex Productions, LLC, a company which produces YouTube and digital ads. Aside from running her company, Alexa is a writer/director whose short films have premiered at local, national and international film festivals. Alexa has experience in production and has worked on Netflix shows in the assistant director's department.
Tim Gilmore, Ph.D, writes about the haunted South as center of America’s cultural rifts. He’s the author of 21 books, most recently Box Broken Open: The Architecture of Ted Pappas. He and his wife Jo Carlisle founded JaxbyJax in 2014. His website is a collection of more than 650 narratives through which he seeks to map Jacksonville, one story of one location at a time. Tim has written four works for the stage, each produced at FSCJ, where he teaches Writing.
Tricia Booker is an award-winning journalist who has written for Folio Weekly, Southern Living, Notre Dame Magazine, and other publications around the country. She currently teaches journalism at the University of North Florida and writes a popular blog about topics ranging from politics and literature to adoption and manners. Her first book is a memoir about how Tricia and her former husband adopted three children.
Sohrab Homi Fracis
Sohrab Homi Fracis will read from his new book of Jax stories, True Fiction. He won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, juried by the legendary Iowa Writers’ Workshop, for Ticket to Minto. His novel, Go Home, was shortlisted by Stanford for the William Saroyan International Prize. He was Twin Cities Visiting Writer in Residence at Augsburg College, Artist in Residence at Yaddo, and Florida Individual Artist Fellow. The South Asian Literary Association awarded him its Distinguished Achievement Award.
A native of north Florida and a 35 year resident of Jacksonville, Linda descended from a Florida pioneer family, the Davises of Wakulla County. She is proud of her heritage and seeks to unearth and write about the things that made us uniquely Floridian before condos and Disney. She is also the author of the children’s book, “Mrs. Shiny and Her Magic Tail”. Linda is working in collaboration with her graphic designer/Illustrator husband, Michael, to bring it to print.
Valarie grew up writing and directing plays for her church, as well as performing in local theatre. She worked as a creative for TeleNext Media and Flyover Studios, companies that produced family-friendly movies of the week for Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble. Valarie was one of four artists chosen for the arts integration residency program “Lift Every Voice” sponsored in part by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools.
Jessica Q Stark
Jessica Q. Stark is the author of Buffalo Girl (BOA Editions, forthcoming 2023), Savage Pageant (Birds, LLC, 2020) and four poetry chapbooks, including INNANET (The Offending Adam, 2021). Savage Pageant was named one of the Best Poetry Books of 2020 by The Boston Globe and Hyperallergic. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Pleaides, & Glass Poetry Journal, among others. She serves as a Poetry Editor at AGNI and is an Asst. Professor of Creative Writing at UNF.
James, aka Junah Hanuj, hosts the Pumpkin Hill Show from his outback farm in the North Florida woods. Poet, photographer, and podcaster - Junah hails from Seattle, but has been in Florida long enough to acquire an accent off the spanish moss which surrounds him.
Howard Denson, a long-time resident of Jacksonville, quit being a “flunky journalist” for The Pensacola News Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and The Birmingham News because he wanted to write stuff that might be read a year or decades later. He spent 38.5 years as a humanities-English instructor for Florida State College. As an indie author of about 25 books, he has written novels, humor , political commentary, etc. He and spouse of 46 years, Michele Boyette, have several four-legged children.
Nancy Murrey-Settle primarily writes essays, and poetry. She is contributing editor to (a) river rising; anthology of women’s voices, and has a background writing for radio in Tampa and Chicago. A retired librarian, she served at all levels of the education system. She has retired from Stanton College Prep. A native of Jacksonville, she resides in her family home in Riverside where she is researching and working on a project related to the child welfare system and parenting.
Michael G. O'Connell
Michael G. O’Connell, a Florida native, is a retired creative director/illustrator who spends much of his time writing and reading. He was first published as part of a Twitter experiment where he and hundreds of others wrote a novella with Neil Gaiman. An award-winning poet, his short stories have appeared online and in print, including The Bacopa Literary Journal and Kaidankai: Ghost and Supernatural Stories. He is currently editing his first novel and illustrating his wife’s children’s book.
After graduating from UNF in 2014 with a double major in English and Criminal Justice, Ma Bones was hired by Douglas Anderson High School to teach ninth and tenth grade creative writing and developed a playwriting class curriculum she instructed. She is a Jacksonville native and writer.
Barbara Colaciello brings a unique perspective and skill set to her teaching and writing utilizing her eclectic experiences and interests.
Based on her extensive theater background, sales and marketing experience and on her artistic journey as an actress, director, playwright, and educator, she has developed a process that promotes success through authenticity, focus, improvisation and collaboration.
Jeff Knapp is an educator, traveler, husband, and father. Born in central New York and raised in east Alabama, he has lived in north Florida since 1991. His life experience includes years in the restaurant and bar business, running a college study abroad program, and 25 years teaching Latin and interdisciplinary Humanities. Informed by his lifelong fascination with language, time, and place, Jeff’s teaching and writing connects people to ideas that transcend boundaries.
Sonja Mongar new photo
Sonja Mongar, MFA is a memoirist, journalist, award-winning novelist and teaches in the Western Connecticut State Low Residency MFA program. A former FOLIO contributing writer, she wrote music and arts features at the peak of the 90s Indie music movement in Jax. She played harmonica in a variety of north and central Florida bands as well as with her own Latin fusion band in Puerto Rico for 14 years. She believes that fate favors the prepared person, thus she always carries a harmonica.
Wyne Karnath - Workshop Leader & Reader
Wyne Karnath is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction who writes every day, and posts at findyournation.org, to inspire and connect people of like minds, especially those who want to make a positive change.
His fiction is often set in the near future. Mankind’s unsteady and problematic relationship to technology is central to his work. His brand of fiction is speculative, not fantasy.Karnath is a finalist for the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award for short fiction.
Lynn Skapyak Harlin - Workshop Leader & Reader
Poet, writer and editor, Lynn Skapyak Harlin’s first published poem “War Waste” appeared in Time magazine, in 1970. Her poems appeared in Women’s Voices, State Street Review, Arbus, Section Eight, Florida Speaks, The Gate, Aquarian, AC PAPA volumes 1,2&3. Her chapbooks, Real Women Drive Trucks and Press One for More Options published in 1997 and Age Changes in 2017. Her collection of 90 poems, Twist and Turns appeared in 2019. All Shapes and Sizes, was pubished in 2022.
Jennifer Wolfe - Workshop Leader
Executive Director Jennifer Wolfe established the Jacksonville affiliate of Women Writing for (a) Change® in 2013, adding a non-profit foundation in 2018. A writer, facilitator, business owner, and community leader, she’s helped facilitate change for people and organizations for the past 25 years. She is a journalist by training, a licensed affiliate owner for Women Writing for (a) Change®, and a certified instructor for The Center for Journal Therapy.
Yvette Angelique - Workshop Leader - (photo by Amanda Rosenblatt)
Poet and storytelling facilitator Yvette Angelique runs Narratives for Change, an art, culture, and social change practice. Studying at the University of Denver and Goddard College, Yvette completed her graduate work to produce poetry and prose that speak to the context and complexity of Black women's lives. She works with women and girls to use storytelling for healing, literary art-making, consciousness-raising and advocacy.
Vic DiGenti - Workshop Leader
Whether you call them ghostwriters, collaborators, or biographers, these writers often work anonymously to pen books for others. Along with his six novels, Vic DiGenti (aka Parker Francis) has written client biographies for multi-millionaires, jazz musicians, and retired executives. In this eye-opening workshop, Vic will share what he’s learned about the demands and rewards of writing biographies, illustrate examples with excerpts from his books, and answer questions about the ghostwriting.
Currently cellist for the Dear Evan Hansen National Tour; previously for Hamilton: An American Musical. Television/Film: “Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “Empire”. Studio recordings: Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift, John Legend’s Big Love and PJ Morton’s Gumbo Unplugged. Tahirah performed the cello solo for Rhiannon Giddens’ “Cry No More.” She is a member of Ritz Chamber Players and D-Composed. She received her BA from New England Conservatory and a MA from Juilliard.
Victoria Canady-Anderson holds a BA in fine arts from Florida State University. She has worked as a music teacher at Jacksonville Heights Elementary, where she also led as a teaching artist for the CAP chorus program. She produced and directed four musical performances with the Singing Eagles Chorus there. She is an all-around musician who performs in a band, as well as mixing, mastering, and writing for other artists. She is currently Program Manager for the Cathedral Arts Project.
Jessie Ball duPont Center
“At the corner of conversation and action”
Moving the Margins
Brad Kuhn & Associates, LLC
Happy Tapir Press
Jacksonville Literary Arts Alliance
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our writers and their fans, JaxbyJax did not hold a face-to-face reading as part of the festival in 2020. Instead, we produced a documentary video.
TO WATCH JAXBYJAX LITERARY ARTS FESTIVAL VII, you MUST have a Facebook profile and GO TO: facebook.com/JaxbyJax and LIKE the page.
Here are links to JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival VII, in the video section of the JaxbyJax Literary Arts page.
Please note that both videos have identical openings for the first minute and twenty seconds, but different writers and different content after that.
Day One will LIFT YOUR SPIRITS and OPEN YOUR MIND, featuring poetry and prose by Yvette Angelique, Ben Atkinson, Tayve Neese, Abel Harding, Lex Hamilton, Tim Gilmore, Taryn "Love Reigns" Wharwood, Brad Kuhn, Shannon Pulusan, Johnny Masiulewicz, Michelle Lizet Flores, Damon Thomas, singer/songwriter Jesse Montoya, and featured poet Lynn Skapyak Harlin, who will read her work and also wrap things up with a 15-minute workshop on HOOKS that you won't want to miss.
Day Two will HEAL YOUR HEART, featuring poetry and prose by Andres Rojas, Sarah Crooks, Thomas Ferriello, Sonja Mongar, Tricia Booker, Nikesha Williams, Sohrab Homi Fracis, singer/songwriter Jesse Montoya, and the fabulous STUDENT SHOWCASE. We'll learn how to get involved with Women Writing for a Change from Jennifer Wolfe, talk with Ron Chamblin about the importance of bookstores, and walk with Tommy Shapard through his experience at Baptist Health with COVID-19.