Key West writer is first Keys native ever selected.
Tallahassee, FL — Local writer Arlo Haskell has won the 2017 Florida Book Award, according to a statement from Florida State University this week. His debut work of nonfiction, The Jews of Key West: Smugglers, Cigar-Makers, & Revolutionaries (1823-1969), will receive the Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal for Florida Nonfiction and a $500 cash prize at the annual awards banquet in the state capital next month.
Haskell joins other 2017 winners including Edwidge Danticat, whose Art of Death won gold in the general nonfiction category; and Randy Wayne White, whose Mangrove Lightning won a bronze medal in fiction. More than 200 books were considered across 11 categories of competition.
Established in 2006 and now the most comprehensive state book awards program in the nation, the Florida Book Awards celebrate the best Florida literature. Authors must be full-time Florida residents, except in the Florida nonfiction and visual arts categories, where the subject matter must focus on Florida.
Haskell is believed to be the first Keys native to receive the prestigious award. Born on Big Coppitt Key in 1977 and a graduate of Key West High School, he is also the executive director of the Key West Literary Seminar.
The winning authors from across the state will be honored at the Abitz Family Dinner, the annual awards banquet April 12 at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The public is invited to attend.