TRIVIA: Under the authors’ sun
If you’re the type who likes to dive into a classic on vacation, why not combine your love of literature with visiting former residences of some of the most esteemed writers in American history? Florida was and is a bastion for many great novelists, and their personal stories can be as fascinating as the prose they once created beneath the swaying palms of the Sunshine State.
Did you know Jack Kerouac lived in two Florida cities, St. Petersburg and Orlando? It was in the latter at 1418-½ Clouser Avenue at which the On the Road author received word his American classic was being published. The house still stands and serves as a writers-in-residence studio. Kerouac moved to St. Pete on the Gulf coast in 1964 with his third wife, Stella, where he died five years later at age 47. Plans to preserve the house at 5169 10th Ave. N. are underway.
Who knew the once sleepy town of Key West would become a magnet for so many revered writers? It is believed that
Tennessee Williams created the final draft of A Streetcar Named Desire while staying at the La Concha Hotel in Key West in the 1940s. In 1950, Williams bought a house at 1431 Duncan Street, where he lived out his final 34 years. While the house still stands, it is a private residence. However, a free exhibit paying homage to Williams’s prowess is on display behind the Key West Business Guild Visitor Center.
While you’re in Key West, don’t forget to drop by the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum at 907 Whitehead Street, where the author wrote masterpieces For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
Fan of the famous poet Robert Frost?
Seek out his Conch Republic cottage behind a house on 410 Caroline Street, which he called home for 15 years.
Few realize that The Yearling author’s home now makes up a public park in Florida called the Marjorie Kinnan
Rawlings Historic State Park. Tucked away just south of Gainesville in the tiny hamlet of Cross Creek, Rawlings also wrote the novel Cross Creek, an excellent read before your next visit to Florida depicting her thoughts of the rural region.
Zora Neale Hurston is known for putting Eatonville on the map—the nation’s first incorporated all-black township located just north of Orlando. In order to visit her home, you need to travel to Fort Pierce on Florida’s east coast. If you are in the Orlando area, you can visit the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts to get a glimpse inside the legend’s life.
TOP: The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West. CENTER: Zora Neale Hurston's home in Eatonville. BOTTOM: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House near Gainesville.