FSU Libraries announces 2023 Florida Book Awards winners 

Florida authors gathered for recognition at the 2022 Florida Book Awards banquet. (University Libraries)
Florida authors gathered for recognition at the 2022 Florida Book Awards banquet. (University Libraries)

Thirty books were recently honored by The Florida Book Awards, coordinated by Florida State University Libraries.

The Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive statewide book awards program. The 18th annual competition featured 170 eligible publications submitted across 11 categories for books published in 2023. The recipient of the Gerald Ensley Award, established to recognize a rising writing talent, will be announced separately at a later date.

“Florida continues to produce internationally recognized books, and we are thrilled to share that many of the books we love come from our state,” said Keith Simmons, executive director of the awards. “As part of that recognition, we are constantly seeking ways to celebrate and connect authors with eager audiences inside and outside of Florida.”

Eligible authors must be full-time Florida residents. Three categories — Florida nonfiction, visual arts and cooking — do not hold a residency requirement but must focus on Florida. Winning authors will be honored at the annual awards banquet Thursday, April 25, at Parkview at Cascades in Tallahassee.

Florida State University Libraries coordinates the Florida Book Awards with assistance from co-sponsors, Florida Humanities, Midtown Reader and Word of South.

For more information, visit floridabookawards.org.

Collin Callahan receiving recognition at las year's Florida Book Awards for his winning book “Thunderbird Inn.” (University Libraries)
Collin Callahan received recognition at the 2022 Florida Book Awards for his winning book “Thunderbird Inn.” (University Libraries)

Florida Book Awards 2023 winners by category:


GOLD: Medeia Sharif, Miami, “Frizzy Haired Zuzu” (American Psychological Association)

SILVER: Marsha Diana Arnold, Alva, “Armando’s Island” (Creative Editions, an imprint of The Creative Company)

BRONZE: Sara E. Echenique, Davie, “Our Roof Is Blue” (Charlesbridge Publishing)


GOLD: Taryn Souders, Sorrento, “The Mystery of the Radcliffe Riddle” (Sourcebooks Young Readers)

SILVER: Sandra Markle, Lakewood Ranch, “Secrets of the Lost City: A Scientific Adventure in the Honduran Rain Forest” (Lerner Publishing Group)

BRONZE: Moira Rose Donohue, St. Petersburg, “Tapping Feet” (Reycraft Books)

HONORABLE MENTION: Marta Magellan, Miami, “Bee Catastrophe” (Eifring Publishing)


GOLD: Larry Loftis, Altamonte Springs, “The Watchmaker’s Daughter” (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

SILVER: Jessica Pryce, Orlando, “Broken: Transforming Child Protective Services” (Amistad)

BRONZE: Judith L. Pearson, Nokomis, “Crusade to Heal America” (Mayo Clinic Press)


GOLD: Lauren Groff, Gainesville, “The Vaster Wilds” (Penguin Random House, Riverhead Books)

SILVER: David O’Connor, Gainesville, “The Beast and the Silent Blue” (Molly Yes Press)

BRONZE: Thomas Reed, Sarasota, “Pocketful of Poseys” (Beaufort Books)


GOLD: Carlton Ward, Jr., Tampa, “Path of the Panther: New Hope for Wild Florida” (National Geographic Books)

SILVER: Phillip A. Hubbart, Miami, “From Death Row to Freedom: the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Pitts-Lee Case” (University Press of Florida)

BRONZE: Sarah McNamara, College Station, Tx., “Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South” (University of North Carolina Press)

HONORABLE MENTION: Jacki Levine, Gainesville, “Once Upon a Time in Florida: Stories of Life in the Land of Promises” (University Press of Florida)


GOLD: Kweku Abimbola, Tampa, “Salwater Demands a Psalm” (Graywolf Press)

SILVER: Jessica Q. Stark, Jacksonville, “Buffalo Girl” (BOA Editions)

BRONZE: Anne Barngrover, Tampa, “Everwhen” (University of Akron Press)


GOLD: Asa Drake, Ocala, “One Way to Listen” (Gold Line Press)


GOLD: Lucy Burdette, Key West, “A Clue in the Crumbs (Crooked Lane Books)

SILVER: Ward Larsen, Sarasota, “Deep Fake” (TOR/Forge)

BRONZE: J. C. Bruce, Naples, “Strange Timing” (Tropic Press)


GOLD: Gaston Virkel, Miami, “Neurosis Miami” (Suburbano Ediciones)

SILVER: Hernán Vera Álvarez, Miami, “Relaciones Imperfectas (Ediciones Aguamiel)

BRONZE: Claudia Prengler Starosta, Miami, “Fugaz” (Ediciones Aguamiel)

HONORABLE MENTION: Danilo Lopez-Roman, Miami, “Generaciones” (Valparaiso Ediciones)


GOLD: Kirsten Hines, Miami, “Wild Florida” (University Press of Florida)

SILVER: Deborah C. Pollack, Palm Beach, “Florida Sculptors and Their Work 1880 – 2020” (Schiffer Publishing)


GOLD: Vanessa Montalban, Winter Park, “A Tall Dark Trouble” (Zando Young Readers)

SILVER: S.E. Reed, Boca Raton, “My Heart is Hurting” (Wild Ink Publishing)

BRONZE: David Towner, Lakeworth, “The Rise” (Splash Marketing)