Winter with the Writers Opens with Carl Hiaasen

February 07, 2012


As part of a master class, Carl Hiassen offers Winter With the Writers interns (on stage) feedback on their writing. (Photo by David Noe.)

It’s almost impossible to live in Florida for any length of time and not be influenced by the writing of celebrated novelist and columnist Carl Hiaasen. The first featured author in Rollins’ award-winning Winter with the Writers visiting author series, Hiaasen recently shared his thoughts, musings, and wit in a master class and widely attended reading and discussion. 

Hiaasen was the perfect literary craftsman to kick off the 2012 season of this acclaimed literary festival.  As a native Floridian, his editorials and novels have put into unique perspective many of the issues relevant to Rollins and its community. 

“Not only is he one of the most renown writers to take part in the festival,” commented Reneé Anduze, communications coordinator of the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins, “we also have a deep understanding and appreciation for the subjects at the heart of his work.”

Hiaasen, syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and author of more than 20 young adult and adult fiction novels, began his brief Rollins residency on Thursday, February 2 by giving a master class for aspiring writers. Providing insight into his craft and personal style, he explained that the ultimate goal of every writer is to tell a good story. “It was interesting to hear that he lets his characters control the direction of the plot and never knows where his story is going to end,” commented Winter with the Writers student intern Arianna Garofalo ’12. 

During the question and answer part of the master class, Garofalo asked Hiaasen about what inspires the environmental activist themes in each of his novels. “It was very surprising to learn that many of his scenes reflect on past personal experiences and real events,” Garofalo said.   

In an interview, Hiaasen explained that the environmental awareness his books have raised is not enough, by itself, to make a difference. “The humor in my writing serves as a much more effective weapon than simply screaming on a soapbox to communicate what is right for our state. Still, the Tallahassee legislature is so out of touch with its citizenry that only votes, letters, and ‘raising hell’ will put a stop to the current destruction of our state’s greatest natural resource.” 

The author’s fiery political commentary and pointed sense of humor was uninhibited during his standing-room-only reading, which was also broadcasted on closed circuit television to two overflow auditoriums.  Throughout the majority of the event, the audience was overcome with laughter. In addition to a reading of  and personal commentary on the first few pages of his first bestseller, Tourist Season, Hiaasen read several absurd and obscure newspaper clippings that had been recently sent to him by his fans. 

“As a novelist, I try to add on to and embellish the weirdness of Florida,” Hiaasen explained.  “However, with these I am at a loss.  You just can’t make this stuff up!”

It was clear that both Hiaasen and the Rollins community greatly enjoyed the opening events of the 2012 Winter with the Writers season. “Meeting and interacting with the people that read my work is the best part of the job,” the author explained. 

“You don’t get this kind of education in the class room,” beamed Winter with the Writers student intern Adrian Alexander ’12, a Hiaasen fan.

A direct descendent of the Animated Magazine, Winter with the Writers continues to successfully uphold the tradition established by Hamilton Holt, Rollins’ eighth president, of bringing prominent thought leaders to campus to share their work and expertise with students and the community. 

The Winter with the Writers program continues with master classes and readings by poets Mihaela Moscaliuc and Ilya Kaminsky on Thursday, February 9 in the Bush Auditorium. 

For more information on featured authors and upcoming events, please visit the Winter with the Writers website

By Justin Braun

Office of Marketing & Communications
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