Nearly forty fiction-lovers and their guests from across Florida and beyond gathered at the St. Pete Bayfront Hilton Saturday, January 26, 2019, for the first day of the 14th annual Tampa Bay Great Books Conference Weekend.
This year’s Conference theme was “Great Novels of the 21st Century,” with Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead books selected for discussion.
More than 1,165 pages of text (many of which are now adorned with sticky notes, handwritten margin observations, and enough yellow Day-Glo Highlighter ink to fill a small swimming pool!
After two discussions Saturday, attendees attended a group dinner with a special performance by Nan Colton, playing the role of Virginia Woolf. Nan’s portrayal of Virginia Woolf brought the crowd to their feet! Visit Nan’s website if you would like to see the 30 characters she performs.
The Tampa Bay Great Books Council ended its 14th annual Weekend Conference on what some would consider a “perfect reading day” – windy and rainy, with midday temperatures uncharacteristically in the 40’s! Nearly forty participants and guests headed home after a final morning analyzing Marilynne Robinson’s epistolary novel, Gilead, led by moderators Patrick DeMarco and Judith Huge, followed by the traditional raffle for prizes donated by members of the Board of the Tampa Bay Great Books Council.
Photo gallery – Click on a photo to see a slide show of all the lovely photos and captions.
Linda Feeney moderates the discussion of “Atonement” by Ian MacEwan. Contributors to the discussion included (clockwise from upper left): Catherine Wright Haddock, Amanda Putnam, Inez Gutman, Margaret Hoffman, Mark Simo, Sara Cohen and Judith Huge. At lower right is Brenda Tipps.
Patrick DeMarco moderates “Atonement” with (clockwise from bottom left) Sylvia Sorrentino (President Emeritus and co-founder of TBGBC), Arthur Huge, Mary Reid, Mike Reid, Stanley Ashe, Alice Levine, Anne Strozier, Ann Bagley, Garnet Cope, Peter Putnam, Ladi Volicer, Cheryl Walker, Diane White, and Tom Walker.
TBGBC Chief Moderator Patrick DeMarco (top, at head of table) moderates the challenges of Franzen’s “The Corrections” – a dystopic family portrait . Clockwise from upper right, Catherine Wright Haddock (partially hidden), Amanda Putnam, Margaret Hoffman, Mark Simo, Edythe Shapiro, Joyce Simard, Joyce Carpenter, Malcolm Harris, Barbara Brown, Cheryl Walker, and Brenda Tipps.
Nan Colton – QA time
Nan Colton as Virginia Woolf with portrait
Nan Colton and Sara Cohen
Tampa Bay Great Books President Sara Cohen (lower left) moderates the discussion of “The Corrections” to kick off the weekend event. In attendance (clockwise from left): Ladi Volicer, Nick Graves, Linda Feeney, Alice Levine, Anne Strozier, Peter Putnam, Stanley Ashe, Ann Bagley, Diane White, and Tom Walker.
Members of the TBGBC Board of Directors joined in thanking the attendees for their participation and continued support. Shown (from left): George Hyde, Linda Feeney, Anne Strozier, Sara Cohen, Tom Walker, Barbara Brown, Mark Simo, and Patrick DeMarco.
TBGBC President Sara Cohen presented the other Grand Prize fruit basket to winner Catherine Wright Haddock.
Following the morning discussions, attendees gathered for a prize raffle, with Anne Strozier (left) presenting Joyce Carpenter with one of the two large fruit baskets donated by Publix Supermarkets.
Sunday morning marked the first appearance of a new TBGBC moderator, Judith Huge (shown here at the head of the table). Judy, an accomplished teacher of writing, is a regular attendee at TBGBC’s “Great Books” classes held in conjunction with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USF. Shown in discussion in her group this morning (clockwise from lower left): Marc Simo, Joyce Carpenter, Brenda Tipps, Diane White, Cheryl Walker, moderator Judy Huge, Amanda Putnam, Margaret Hoffman, Ladi Volicer, and Joyce Simard.
Chief Moderator Patrick DeMarco (top right) simultaneously led a second group through “Gilead”, including (clockwise from lower left) Tom Walker, Arthur Huge, Barbara Brown, Stanley Ashe, Mary Reid, and Mike Reid.
Nan Colton as Virgina Woolf