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USF professors win 2016 Florida Book Awards

TAMPA, Fla. - The Florida Book Awards announced two University of South Florida Department of English professors as 2016 Florida Book Award Winners. Professor Jay Hopler won the gold medal in poetry for “The Abridged History of Rainfall” (McSweeney’s Publishing). Professor Ira Sukrungruang won the bronze metal in general fiction for “The Melting Season” (Burlesque Press).

Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. It was established in 2006 to 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. For its 11th annual competition, more than 200 eligible publications were submitted across the 10 categories of competition.

The winning authors from across the state will be honored at the Abitz Family Dinner, the annual awards banquet, which will take place in Tallahassee on April 12, 2017, at the Mission San Luis. The public is invited to attend. More information will be available on the Florida Book Awards website.

Juries of three members, each nominated from across the state by co-sponsoring organizations, read the submissions for the 2016 awards. Jurors are authorized to select up to three medalists (including one gold winner, one silver runner-up and one bronze medalist) in each of the 10 categories; jurors are also authorized to make no selections in a given year.

The Florida State University Libraries coordinate the Florida Book Awards with assistance from co-sponsors, including the Florida Center for the Book, the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Historical Society, the Florida Humanities Council, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, the Florida Library Association, the Florida Association for Media in Education, the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College, the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Friends of FSU Libraries, the Florida Writers Association, the Florida Literacy Coalition and “Just Read, Florida!”

Learn more about the Florida Book Awards at

For more information on USF's creative writing program in the Department of English, contact program director Rita Ciresi at

The University of South Florida’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a graduate-level program offering concentrations in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The program emphasizes the craft of writing and concentrates on students’ original work. For more information, see


Filed under:Arts and Sciences English