Litlando: 10 Orlando authors you should know

Litlando: 10 Orlando authors you should know
Photo via Kristen Arnett / Twitter

Orlando is home to some amazing authors, in genres like true-crime, historical fiction, young adult and many more. Some even set their stories around Central Florida. Here are ten favorites to check out.

Kristen Arnett perfectly captures the heart-wrenching feelings of loss and love in her novel Mostly Dead Things. The book focuses on a Florida woman who loses her father to suicide and is forced to take on the family taxidermy business, while the rest of her family struggles with strange coping mechanisms. It's a New York Times best-seller and has been optioned for a film.

Longtime Central Florida nature writer Bob Morris has five new ebooks out: Short Road to Hell, All over the Map, Gut Check, The Man With the Fish on His Foot and The Whole Shebang all offer life lessons that make readers laugh, shed tears and embrace Florida's wildscapes wholeheartedly.

Kristin Harmel's most recent work, The Winemaker's Wife, is set in 1940 during some of the most gruesome days of World War II. Harmel is also known for her novel The Room on Rue Amelie, which tells the story of World War II from three different perspectives that eventually cross paths in the turmoil.

Jeff Kunerth shows off his investigative journalism skills in Trout: A True Story of Murder, Teens, and the Death Penalty, a sad and disturbing look into an impulsive crime and the consequences in Florida.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf's book When All Else Fails tells the story of an Iraqi college student who's living in Orlando when his whole life changes on 9/11. Readers will feel loss, hope, love and courage in Al-Shawaf's novel.

Jenny Torres Sanchez's four YA books, The Fall of Innocence, Because of the Sun, The Downside of Being Charlie and Death, Dickinson and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia, explore a range of subjects from loss and grief to family and hope. Sanchez's style is raw and true, and her work as a librarian shows in her characters' love of words.

David James Poissant's book The Heaven of Animals is a collection of short stories that covers the tenuous bonds of relationships. Readers will recognize Florida in the absurdity and brutality of stories like "The End of Aaron" and "Lizard Man."

Nathan Holic is the author of The Things I Don't See and American Fraternity Man, and teaches writing at the University of Central Florida. His upcoming novel Bright Lights, Medium-sized City is a sprawling look at Orlando, due out at the end of 2019.

Susan Lilley is the city of Orlando's first poet laureate. Her latest collection of poems, Venus in Retrograde, combines striking wordcraft with a hard-won wisdom, expressed gracefully on the page.

Kimberly Lojewski's Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart collects 11 short and compelling stories of love, horror and the fantastic that teach the importance of community, acceptance and self-discovery.

This story is from the Aug. 8, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly's Newcomers Guide 2019. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.


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