Florida Heritage Book Festival to offer youth workshops in poetry, graphic novels


Young writers and artists will have an opportunity to learn first-hand the art of poetry and developing graphic novels as part of the 2016 Florida Heritage Book Festival.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke and his wife, artist Jeanne Clark Meinke, will offer a hands-on poetry session for 8- to 12-year-olds from 9 a.m. to noon. Acclaimed graphic novelist Andre Frattino, meanwhile, will teach 13- to 18-year-olds the nuts and bolts of the graphic novel industry in a session to be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Both sessions will be held in Flagler College’s Ringhaver Student Center in St. Augustine.

“These children’s sessions are the first ones we’ve had to date,” Festival Executive Director Jim Wilson said. “They will give students the chance to experience first-hand the creative craft (led) by leading artists in their fields.”

Meinke has published eight books of poetry in the Pitt Poetry Series; his work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Yorker and numerous literary magazines. He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts awards.

At the festival workshop, Meinke will provide students with tips on how to start writing, how to generate ideas and how to enjoy the process.

“Children can expect to learn that they can become writers and artists like us,” Meinke said. “It’s not magic, but a matter of sitting down with blank paper and trying something out. If they enjoy it, they can keep doing it, improving their skills as they grow.”

Graphic novelist Frattino is also a Florida native. Since 2012, he has published his ongoing Florida-based graphic novel series that includes “The Reaper of St. George Street,” “Lost Souls of Savannah” and “The Vampirate of Matanzas Inlet.” For his workshop, Frattino will provide an overview of the art and history of comic books and teach participants the foundation for publishing their own works.

The registration fee for each workshop is $20 per participant, and advance registration is required. To register or for more information, visit http://fhbookfest.com/childrens-sessions.