Posts Tagged ‘literature’


Regina Calcaterra, New York Times best-selling author of this year’s One Book, One College selection Etched in Sand, spoke to a packed room of more than 150 people at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

“It’s an honor for me to be here, as it would be for any author,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra appeared at four SPC campuses Jan. 28-29 to discuss her memoir, participate in Q&As and sign copies of her book.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

Etched in Sand follows Calcaterra and her four siblings through their tumultuous childhood framed by an alcoholic, abusive, and often absentee mother. The inspiring coming-of-age story, with themes of tenacity, hope, resilience and unconditional love among siblings, spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

An engaging speaker, Calcaterra elicited gasps, tears and applause as she discussed how she and her siblings “survived on the fringes of society” and “broke the cycle of abuse” in one generation.

Calcaterra spoke about the teachers and professors who helped her lift herself from a life of poverty, homelessness and abuse to become a strong, accomplished woman. Those mentors repeatedly told her, “The only way out of poverty is through education,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra, an attorney for the state of New York, served as Executive Director of two New York State commissions, and is a former Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive.

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of SPC’s common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at the college reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra will appear at four St. Petersburg College campuses Jan. 28-29 for a reading, Q&A and book-signing event. Calcaterra is the author of Etched in the Sand, SPC’s One Book, One College selection this year.

Regina Calcaterra will appear:

  • Jan. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., Tarpon Springs
  • Jan. 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Clearwater
  • Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon, Downtown
  • Jan. 29, from 1-3 p.m., St. Pete/Gibbs

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of its common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at SPC reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

Etched in Sand is Calcaterra’s memoir and an inspiring coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope. Read more about the book on Amazon.

When Calcaterra was informed her book was chosen, she contacted SPC and said she was honored, then added to her bio a shout out to St. Petersburg College on Amazon.

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Elizabeth Indianos holding her award for Best Screenplay at the 2013 LA Femme International Film Festival.

Elizabeth Indianos holding her award for Best Screenplay at the 2013 LA Femme International Film Festival.

LIBERTAIRE, a screenplay written by St. Petersburg College fine arts professor Elizabeth Indianos, has been selected to be made into a movie.

“I’ve signed with a producer and am just now waiting for things to happen,” said Indianos, who signed with Hollywood producer Leslie LaPage.

LaPage is a producer dedicated to empowering women with quality films directed and produced by professional women. She also has produced, directed and line produced for film, TV, music videos, commercials and theatrical productions.

Indianos met LaPage when she won Best Screenplay at the 2013 La Femme International Film Festival in Los Angeles, an annual women’s film festival LaPage launched in 2005.

It’s a dream come true for Indianos, who consulted on her screenplay with Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar whose Story Seminar writing classes are world-renowned. She also worked with editor Annette Kaufman, whom she credits with helping hone every nuance of her written works.

LIBERTAIRE is the story of Joe Pulitzer and Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor and a newspaperman who fight discrimination an indifference for a woman no one wanted: Lady Liberty.

Excited about the opportunity to see one of her award-winning screenplays to come to life as a film, Indianos has been working with Hollywood film attorney Keith Burglund to help facilitate the process.

“This has been my first experience doing this, but it has been wonderful because we really see eye-to-eye and had a shared vision about things,” she said about working with Burglund.

Although no production date has yet been announced, LaPage is now working to find the talent, director, and film incentives in different countries to get the process started.

Indianos is eager to see the film’s production process begin. Once everything is in place, she hopes to serve as a consultant during the making of the film.

The movie poster for LIBERTAIRE.

The movie poster for LIBERTAIRE.

LIBERTAIRE was selected as one of the Top 10 movie scripts and won Best Screenplay in the Historical Category for the fourth annual Sundance Table Read My Screenplay contest. Since then, the screenplay won additional awards across the country at the 2013 Williamsburg International Film Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a finalist at the 2013 Sacramento International Film Festival and the 2013 Beverly Hills Film Festival.

LIBERTAIRE also made it in the top 10 percent of all 7,197 entries for the 2012 Nicholls Fellowship in Screenwriting, which is sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The screenplay also has been nominated twice for a Culture and Heritage Award by Fresh Voices, a consortium of industry professionals that strives to discover, encourage and promote the most promising voices in storytelling.

In addition to LIBERTAIRE, Indianos also has written Waiting for Guacamole, a play inspired by Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. It is not a modern retelling of Beckett’s play, rather a comedic drama inspired by and loosely based upon the literary classic. Forty paintings in the form of banners also contribute to the storytelling and the story’s conclusion.

Waiting for Guacamole was recently exhibited in a faculty art show at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at the SPC Tarpon Springs Campus.

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In celebration of National Poetry Month, St. Petersburg College hosted internationally acclaimed poets Tess Gallagher and Lawrence Matsuda on April 21-22. More than 300 attendees participated in collaborative poetry readings at the Clearwater Campus Library, St. Petersburg/Gibbs Music Center and the Palladium Theater.

Poet interview The Tampa Bay Times published an interview with poet Tess Gallagher as a preview to the events.

Gallagher read works spanning her career of more than 40 years, including readings from her most recent work, Midnight Lantern. She spoke words of the loss and desires of love, the preciousness of life, and of the criticality of solitude.

Matusda has been her collaborator on a number of works, including Pow! Pow! Shalazam!, featured on the Plume Poetry website. Matsuda, who was born in the Minidoka internment camp during World War II, writes as a witness to the injustices of Japanese-American citizens sent to the camps by their own government. He serves as a voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves.

SPC Communications Professor Danny Lawless, editor of Plume Poetry magazine, and the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Student Government Association helped make the event possible.

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MountainsThe Learning Resources Department is pleased to announce Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder as St. Petersburg College’s One Book, One College title for 2014. SPC faculty, staff and students nominated a record high of 41 titles for the common reading program.

Kudos to Joy Moore, Academic Chair for Mathematics at the Clearwater Campus, for her nomination of Mountains Beyond Mountains.

In the non-fiction book, Tracy Kidder relates a compelling story of the life and work of Paul Farmer, a doctor and anthropologist devoted to a new vision of health care in third world nations. As a student at Duke, Farmer discerns his life’s mission and continues to pursue it with passion today. (A local note: Farmer grew up in Brooksville.)

The goal of One Book, One College is to have as many people as possible read the book, partner with campus librarians on programming and engage in discussion with students and colleagues.

You can share resources and ideas on the One Book, One College – 2014 Guide. Mountains Beyond Mountains is available through the SPC library website. It also is widely available at bookstores and online.

To start the conversation, here are some questions for reflection:

  • Mountains Beyond Mountains opens with an encounter between Paul Farmer and a United States Special Forces Captain in which both Farmer and the captain express frustration with limits on the military intervention in the area in Haiti. How would you describe the effectiveness of the United States’ foreign policy and intervention in Haiti?
  • In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Paul Farmer uses the phrase “preferential option for the poor” (p. 81). How does this relate to liberation theology? The cultural beliefs in Haiti?
  • In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Jim Kim and Paul Farmer refer to People magazine as the Journal of Popular Studies (JPS). While most people read People magazine as a source of entertainment, Farmer considers the publication as an anthropological artifact.
  1. What is the significance of cultural media?
  2. What do cultural magazines such as People tell us about society?
  3. How might an anthropologist or historian five hundred years from now interpret People magazine?
  • In Chapter 19 of Mountains Beyond Mountains, Jim spearheads an effort to lower the cost of capreomycin, the drug most commonly used to treat MDR-TB. How do economic and political factors affect the production, cost, and distribution of prescription drugs?
  • Why do you think the author, Tracy Kidder, decided to make himself a character in Mountains Beyond Mountains?
  • Take stock of your assets (personal and financial). Farmer took time in college to identify and determine how to he would use his assets. What steps might you take to determine how to use your assets? What resources does SPC have to help you do that?
  • The events in Mountains Beyond Mountains take place primarily in the 1990s, before the rise of social media. If Farmer and his colleagues started Partners in Health today, what impact might social media have of the establishment and growth of the organization? On the direction of Partners in Health’s work? Consider positive and negative implications.
  • Partners in Health works with many people and organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to achieve its goals. Consider the work of Bill Gates as the Founder and CEO of Microsoft, and as the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From your perspective, in which role has he had the greatest impact on society? Why?
  • In Chapter 9 of Mountains Beyond Mountains, Farmer states that rich people should feel guilt toward the poor “because it could cause them to part with some of their money. And they ought to feel guilty besides” (p. 93). Do you agree that the rich should feel guilt toward the poor? Why or why not?

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IMG_9264a IMG_9285Garth Stein, author of the St. Petersburg College One Book, One College selection The Art of Racing in the Rain, dazzled 145 students, staff and members of the public at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, March 13.

Stein shared his insight and experiences as a professional writer and participated in a question and answer session and book signing with the audience. He also read and discussed selections from his third novel The Art of Racing in the Rain. The book, which has been published in 30 languages, has been on the IndieBound bestseller list since its publication in 2008 and was named a New York Times best-selling novel.

Some of his other novels include How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon. Stein also has written a full-length play, Brother Jones, and a number of award-winning documentaries.

On Tuesday, March 12, Stein also spoke before an audience of 147 students, staff and faculty at the SPC Music Center at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. Both events were a collaborative effort by Learning Resources at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Student Government Association, which also funded the events.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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Students, staff and members of the public packed into the SPC Music Center on Tuesday, March 12, for a live poetry reading by 2001-03 U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

A crowd of 254 people filled the music center at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus to listen to Collins. Some said they traveled from out of county and even out of state to hear the award-winning poet. After reading his poems, Collins answered many questions about his work and inspiration.

Collins is the author of eight collections of poetry including Ballistics, The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic.

“He’s got the ‘common man’ pretty well all together, and he represents all of us,” said Al Svoboda, who drove from Sumter County with his wife, Jill, to see Collins. They learned about his poetry reading in the Tampa Bay Times. “As soon as we heard that he would be coming, we came running.”

Collins’ presentation was a collaborative effort by the SPC Communications Department and the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Student Government Association, which funded the event. He also spoke later that day at the Palladium Theater.

The St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus SGA also funded presentations by Garth Stein, author of SPC’s One Book, One College selection The Art of Racing in the Rain. Stein spoke at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Music Center Tuesday evening. Several who attended Collins’ noon presentation also said they also were interested in seeing Stein.

Bed and breakfast owner Grace Diaz-Tubbs, who sat with her sister, Rita Diaz-Kenney, was one of them.

“I read about Garth Stein’s book and was fascinated by the storytelling,” said Diaz-Tubbs, who flew in from Williamsburg, Va., to hear Collins and Stein. “We came in for these events specifically.”

See more photos from the event on the college’s Facebook page.

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