Winter With the Writers

Winter With the Writers is a festival of the literary arts, sponsored by the Irving Bacheller Creative Writing Endowment, the Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Artist Fund, Winter With the Writers patrons, and the Rollins College Department of English.

Winter with the Writers illustration of a typewriter and National Book Award Finalist logo.


Winter with the Writers was part of a long tradition of literary excellence at Rollins College, first in the continuing tradition of supporting living authors and also as a direct descendant of the Animated Magazine, established by Hamilton Holt, the eighth president of Rollins College.

The Animated Magazine presented an eclectic program of speakers during high winter before an audience of subscribers that often numbered in the thousands.

Over a span of forty years, statesmen, political and sports figures, actors, and notable writers read their pieces or spoke—Greer Garson, Bob Feller, James Cagney, Omar Bradley, J. Edgar Hoover, Fannie Hurst, Henry Luce, Henry Morganthal, Claude Pepper, Mary Pickford, Mohammed Ali, among others.

The series began in 1927, introducing to the Rollins College and Winter Park communities the editor of the poetry column of The New York Times, Jessie Rittenhouse.

The collection of her letters of correspondence with many important poets of the early 20th century can be found in the Olin Library archives, including her correspondence with Eliot, Pound, Hart Crane, Robert Frost, Elinor Wylie, Amy Lowell, E.A Robinson, and Allen Tate.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings attended the Animated Magazine in 1934, 1937, 1938, 1941 and 1945. Photo in 1938

Other featured writers in the Animated Magazine series included Ogden Nash, John Erskine, Allen Drury, and Carl Sandburg, who first lectured in the Knowles Hall on March 30, 1928, and then returned for the 1940 animated magazine and received an honorary degree from Rollins on February 26, 1940.

Zora Neale Hurston visited Rollins College several times, though not as a part of the Animated Magazine. She gave a Master Class in 1938. Class visit, 1938

Several of her plays were staged at Rollins, including “From Sun to Sun” in 1933 and “All de Live Long Day”, in 1934.

Other writers who have been a part of the literary milieu at Rollins College include Sinclair Lewis, in 1941 and in 2007 Maya Angelou.

Other elements of the literary culture that WWW derives from are material—like the collection of Walt Whitman papers in Olin Library that includes a manuscript page of “Democracy” and a hand-written note—and some are abstract, particularly the enduring belief in popular eloquence.

National Book Award Partnership

In 2016, Rollins College began a partnership with the National Book Foundation (NBF) to bring to campus two National Book Award (NBA) finalists. As one of four colleges and universities engaged with the National Book Awards on Campus program and sole representative of the Southeast region, Rollins continued its long tradition of sponsoring the very best in contemporary literature.

Each year, 20 NBA judges whittle down more than 1,400 American books in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. The top 10 authors are announced in September, finalists are named in October, and one winner is selected in each category on November 18 during a ceremony in New York City.