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Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Spring 2008
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The Florida Current

The University Press of Florida Newsletter

i.- Tnnuanry 200s

Taking the Plunge:

On Tour with Lu Vickers

When the subject of book tours comes up, my writer friends tend
to fall into two camps. One feels that with all the changes in the book
industry, writers must do everything they can to promote their work-
including setting up and financing their own book tours. The second camp
feels that book tours are more trouble and expense than they're worth. I
fell into the second camp, and not just because I'm shy.
My only experience with a book tour, prior to the one I made on
behalf of Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids was a jaunt across Florida with
a friend to promote a book in which we both had stories. I had a blast with
my friend, but we only read to a total of seven women and a handful of
sleeping cats. I don't think we even sold any books. So, I was a bit leery
when UPF's publicist Romi Gutierrez mentioned that a book store in Key
West was interested in having me down for a signing.
My partner, on the other hand, had no qualms at all. She said one
word: Hemingway. As if a trek to Key West would somehow catapult me
into his company. How could I refuse?
I decided to treat the trip as a family vacation and Romi set out to
line up readings in cities along the way. Unlike my first publisher who
didn't even have a publicist, Romi sent out press releases and review
copies and I was soon besieged by reporters wanting interview (and
contact info for mermaids.) The audiences at the venues varied in size;
at Sarasota Books and News I read to about eight people (including
my family), but one of them was a mermaid I hadn't met before. She'd
seen the article about the book signing in the newspaper ad drove fifty
miles to meet me.

From left to right: Urban Think! Bookstore manager Jim
I- !L !. Ginger Stanley Hallowell (former WW mermaid),
i i1 .!! i i.!! (one of the mermaid twins), Lu Vickers, Dolly
Heltsley (the other mermaid twin), Darlest Thomas (former
WW mermaid), and Frank Billingsley of the Florida Humani-
ties Council.

Voltaire's Books in Key West had a small turnout too,
but they more than made up for it. The local paper Solares
Hill ran a feature review and a travel piece on Weeki
Wachee. I made connections with a Florida filmmaker,
met a woman who used to pilot Weeki Wachee's tour
boats, and thrilled a couple of people with my vintage
Weeki Wachee View Master slides. (And I made my
Hemingway connection; his grandson John read the day
after I did and signed my copy of his memoir.)
Continued on page 2

UPF Congratulates:

Winner of the Florida State
University's Florida Book Award
Bronze Medal and the 1,000 Friends
of Florida Al Burt Award for Losing It
All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My
Cracker Landscape
Winner of the Florida State
University's Florida Book Award
Bronze Medal and the Florida
Historical Society's Charlton Tebeau
Book Award for Flordian ofHis
Century: The Courage ofGovernor
LeRoy Collins

Winner of the Florida Historical
Society's Rembert Patrick Book
Award for The Native. . World
BeyondApalachee: West Florida and
the Chattahoochee --,,,

Winner of the Florida State
University's Florida Book Award
Silver Medal and the Florida Historical
Society's Harry T. & Harriette V.
Moore Book Award for Constructing
Flordians: Natives and Europeans in
the Colonial Flordas, 1513-1783

Honorable Mention in the History of
Education Society Outstanding Book
Award for The Rosenwald Schools of
the Amencan South

Winner of the International Napoleonic
Society Literary Prize for Admiral
Lord Keith and the Naval War against
Winner of the North American Society
for Oceanic History John Lyman Book
Award for Crisis at Sea: The United
States Navy in European Waters in
World War I

Winner of the North American Society
for Oceanic History John Lyman Book
Award for Borderland Smuggling:
Patriots, Loyalsts, and Illhct Trade in
the Northeast, 1783-1820
Honorable Mention in the North
American Society for Oceanic
History John Lyman Book Award for
Commodore John Rodgers: Paragon
of the EarlyAmerican Navy

Winner of the Florida Historical
Society's Samuel Proctor Oral History
Award for Voices of the Apalachicola

'A Florida A&M University + Florida Gulf Coast University + Florida State University + New College of Florida + University of Florida + University of South
SFloridda + Florida Atlantic University + Flonda International University + University of Central Florida + Uversity of Norh Florida +University of West Floda


Sitting Down with Author Barbara Aziz

Q: Your dual perspective as a journalist
and an anthropologist is clearly evident
in Swimming Up the Tigris: Real Life
Encounters with Iraq. In what ways did
your experience and training in these two
professions help you tell this powerful
A: Journalists do not have the leisure
or the copy space, in contrast to
anthropologists, to dig deep and
reveal connections and links between
culture and politics. On the other hand,
journalists can be more efficient in some
ways. We learn how to use a single
case to illustrate a general dynamic.
Journalists are generally better writers
and they can allow themselves inside
the story (to a degree), something
anthropologists try to avoid.
As an anthropologist, I brought my
20 years of field experience in Asia to my
work in Iraq. I am trained, to see links
that are not readily apparent operating
among society's institutions, to carefully
cross check facts, and gather many case
histories. I am also of Arab heritage and
I bring my Islamic and Arab values and
belief in my heritage as an asset to my
work. I sometimes feel I am talking with
members of my own family.
Q: Much of what is written about Iraq
today focuses on the invasion and the

Barbara Nimri Aziz is a Fulbright Scholar
and veteran anthropologist and her radio
program airs weekly on Pacifica-WBAI 99.5
FM New York and

military occupation. Swimming Up the Tigris
provides a unique glimpse into the hardships
of the embargo years. As a journalist, why
do you think the mainstream media fails to
make the connection between the embargo
and the Iraqi reaction to the invasion?
A: This is due to the decision by media

managers to keep news simple, to keep
it "fresh," to box our knowledge, to keep
early history (the history of the British
occupation of Iraq, the history of Arab
nationalism, the history of friendly
relations between the U.S. and Iraq in
the 80s, etc.) Many agree that our U.S.
historical consciousness can be very
shallow. This needs to change.
Iraq as a major source of oil is easy
to explain and easy to sell. So is brutal
dictatorship. Also media managers
to some degree must respond to U.S.
political pressures from the U.S.
administration and other major interests.
They are not independent. We must
accept this.
Q: You are adamant that Iraqis are not
victims. Why is it so important that the
world community view Iraqis in this
A: You cannot really respect those who
you make 'victims.' Neither do they
enjoy self-respect. Victims begin to beg,
to become dependent; so we become their
masters in another (perhaps kinder) way.
Victims often become like children. Men
lose their status in society, and this has
severe repercussions. We really only care
about women and children... and, oh yes,
old men. Iraqis understand this process
and they refuse to accept this role.

Continued from page 1

Audiences at Orlando's Urban Think!
Bookstore were treated to the appearance of
four mermaids who graciously donated their
time: Darlest Thomas, twins Holly Hall and
Dolly Heltsley, and Ginger Stanley Hallowell,
who later doubled in the 50s horror flick,
Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Books and Books in Coral Gables
resulted in reunions with a few old
friends (and side trips to Monkey Jungle,
Coral Castle and the Venetian Pool). An
appreciative audience of forty people
showed up at the Book Center in Vero; the
local paper also featured a travel article on
Weeki Wachee and a sidebar about the book.
A similar crowd showed up at Jonesberry
Books in Gainesville. The arrival of Mary
Darlington Fletcher, an original mermaid,

and the crew from UPF made that event
particularly special.
Was it worth it? I have to say it was.
Sure, I had to pay for most of the trip-but
turning it into my family vacation made that
reasonable. My kids got a chance to hang out
with mermaids and see some of Old Florida. I
signed over a hundred books and converted a

few unbelievers to believe in mermaids.
Despite being mortified, I gave my
first two radio interviews, one of which I
shared with one of Florida's first and shyest
mermaids, Nancy Tribble Benda. Nancy and
I argue over who is the shyest: her or me.
She claims she is, so I was surprised when
she walked through the door at Borders
in Tallahassee, and even more surprised
that she put up with me introducing her to

Painting by Linda Hall. From left to right: Lisa, a
friend of Lu Vickers' niece, and Vickers' niece Holly.

everyone who wanted me to sign a book.
She signed a few, too. And when the reporter
from WFSU shoved her mike in our faces,
Nancy and I both made like book tour
veterans: we took deep breaths and dove
right in.

T 4 'I

* *


James A. Michener's "Lost" Florida Manuscript

James A. Michener was a writer's writer,
a man who wrote to relax, remember, and
perhaps revisit. Such was the case, apparently,
with his novella, entitled Matecumbe, recently
published by the University Press of Florida.
With Matecumbe, it seems Michener wrote to
remember and revisit a love affair in (and with)
the Florida Keys.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the era
in which he wrote Matecumbe, Michener was at
a productive peak, publishing Sports in America
(1976), Chesapeake (1978), The Covenant (1980),
and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
in 1977 by President Gerald Ford. All the while,
he tinkered with Matecumbe and maintained a
relationship with a woman, Melissa DeMaio,
whom he met on the Florida island Islamorada in
Even as he produced a prodigious number
of novels in this era, Michener realized the
necessity of utilizing research assistants. To put it
in perspective, Chesapeake weighed in officially
at 888 pages and yet was written in roughly one

year, a mammoth effort for any one author to
tackle. One of his assistants from that era, Joe
Avenick, hosted Michener often at his home in
Islamorada, introducing the author to DeMaio
and building a friendship with him.
Upon submitting Matecumbe for publication
at Random House, his publisher, Michener was
informed by his editor Albert Erskine that the
novella would not be published. Not exactly used
to having his manuscripts turned down, Michener
decided to gift the project to Avenick, in part to
thank him for his research and writing efforts
and, one might suspect, to acknowledge Florida's
special place in the author's life. Asked about
the importance of Michener's first posthumous
publication, Avenick says, "Michener would have
wanted one of his works of fiction to come out
after his death. He was always thrilled when new
generations enjoyed his writing."
Roughly thirty years after Matecumbe was
shelved and very nearly forgotten, we present for
the first time to the public Michener's attempt to
distill his Florida days.
-Eli Bortz, Acquisitions Editor

Road Scholars Tour


For the third consecutive year, University Press of Florida has
officially partnered with the Florida Humanities Council-the state
affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities-to assemble
a group of the state's best scholars in presenting a variety of programs
about 20th century Florida.
"As Florida's leading publisher of state history and the
humanities, UPF is proud to join forces with the Florida Humanities
Council, which has a notable public outreach program devoted to the
exploration of history, literary and artistic traditions, cultural values,
and ethics," says Andrea Dzavik, UPF's Director of Development.
"The Road Scholars touring program provides yet another vehicle
for us to reach out through scholarship to the citizens of our state. A
major emphasis of our publishing program continues to be on books
that are of general interest and usefulness to the people of Florida.
As Florida continues to evolve, programs such as this give both
newcomers and long-time residents alike an opportunity to interact
with the people studying and recording the history and current events
that are shaping our state identity."
Last season, six UPF authors gave more than 70 talks on
environmentally-themed topics for 3,300 people statewide. This year,
seven UPF authors will be hitting the highways from September 2007
through April 2008 speaking on subjects as varied as politics, civil
rights, and immigration to art, film and food.
For a list of current and upcoming programs in a town near you,
please visit UPF's "Author Appearances" page at
appearance.asp and look for listings marked "Road Scholars Event."

- J
OenOi: raL

Red Statr
FI.publIc ,r

- I mOIIh

! 1 lf '1%

David R. Colburn
From Yellow Dog
Democrats to Red
State Repubhcans

Susan Fernandez
& Robert Ingals
Sunshine in the Dark

Gary Mormino
Land ofSunshine,
State ofDreams

John Moran
Journal ofLight

Gary Monroe
Harold Newton

Lu Vickers
Week Wachee,
C, of Mermaids


How UPF Publishes the Best of the Best

Prospective authors frequently ask how publishers decide
which projects to pursue given the huge number of diverse
book ideas submitted for consideration. UPF receives over
1500 project inquiries each year and the press currently has the
personnel and financial resources to
support a targeted list of close to one
hundred books a year. This means, of
course, that over 90% of the projects
initially proposed to us are not
accepted for publication.
Under these circumstances, how
do we determine the best projects
for the press? We are normally able
to reduce the book candidates by
half by identifying proposals that
simply are not compatible with our
current publishing program. UPF,
a non-profit public university press The manuscript room in tl
devoted to supporting certain types contains all of the projects ci
of scholarly and commercial projects,
must be particularly careful to spend its money wisely while also
maintaining high standards of quality. These pressures mean
that some topic areas are best left to other publishers-European
history, Asian studies, and linguistics are three disciplines that we
do not currently support at UPF, for example-while we focus
our efforts in areas of traditional strength for us-Latin American
studies, New World archaeology, and Florida history, to name


Another 30% of the inquiries the press receives prove
on initial inspection to be worthy of further investigation but,
upon more systematic evaluation, turn out to not be an ideal
fit with our program goals-the scope of the project may be
too narrow or too broad to provide the
Foundation for a substantial book, for
.. example. These "almost, but not quite"
projects can prove the most difficult to
decline because at least some aspect of
the enterprise shows real promise.
The remaining 20% of each year's
cumulative submissions are more
thoroughly developed and reviewed
by the press for possible publication.
SAs is typical with university presses,
UPF sends completed draft manuscripts
that have been determined to exhibit
Acquisitions department qualities that make the projects worthy
gently under consideration. of publication to external experts who
are asked to independently produce
formal written reports on the merits of the manuscripts. Out
of the exclusive number of projects that successfully navigate
through this rigorous internal/external review process, UPF's
editorial advisory board approves approximately one hundred
manuscripts for publication each year. This select group of
books is truly the University Press of Florida's "best of the
-John Byram, Editor-in-Chief and Acquiring Editor of
trade titles

Fall Events

Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 6 pm
New York City, NY
McKay Day
with Gary Holcomb, author of Claude
McKay, Code Name Sasha: Queer Black
MAarxism and the Harlem Renaissance
at the Schomberg Center for Research in
Black Culture, Archives Reading Room
515 Malcolm X Boulevard

Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 8 pm
New York City, NY
Acts of Light
with John Deane and Nan Deane Cano,
authors of Acts ofLight: Martha Graham in
the Twenty-first Century
at the National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park South

Thursday, October 4 to Saturday, October
7, 2007
Femandina Beach, FL
Amelia "Book Island Festival"

with Michael Gannon, author of A History of
Florida in Forty Minutes; Gary Monroe, author
of Harold Newton: The Original Highwayman
and The Highwaymen: Florida's African-
American Landscape Painters; and Lu Vickers,
coauthor of Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids:
A History of One ofFlorida's Oldest Roadside

Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14,2007
Nashville, TN
Southern Festival of Books
with David Magee, author of MoonPie:

Biography of an Out-of-This-World Snack,
and Jean Lufkin Bouler, author of Exploring
Florida's Emerald Coast: A Rich History and
a Rare Ecology

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 7 pm
Fort Myers, FL
Night at the Museum-An Author's Evening
With Gary Mormino, author of Land of
Sunshine, State ofDreams: A Social History of
Modern Florida
(limited availability; $25 fee)
2300 Peck Street

University Presses make scholarly endeavor possible and serve the public good by generating
and disseminating knowledge. UPF has published over 2,500 volumes since its inception, with
a current goal of at least 100 new titles each year. Help support the future of university press
publishing gifts to UPF may be eligible for a charitable contribution tax deduction. To find out
more, please contactAndrea Dzavik, Director of Development, at 352-392-1351, ext.234.

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