The St. Johns Cultural Council, the organization that promotes arts, culture and heritage in St. Augustine, has announced that the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society’s 34th Annual Conference will be held in St. Augustine on April 28-30, 2023. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society honors the memory and celebrates the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author through annual meetings throughout Florida in locations relevant to Rawlings’ literature and locale. Rawlings owned a second home in Crescent Beach and she, along with her husband Norton Sanford Baskin, owned the Castle Warden Hotel in St. Augustine.
“We’re delighted to partner with the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society to host this event to celebrate one of Florida’s most renowned authors,” says Christina Parrish Stone, Executive Director of St. Johns Cultural Council. “Rawlings’ award-winning works are lasting cultural staples in Florida and beyond, and St. Augustine is the perfect place to celebrate this legacy as the site of her second Florida home.”
To celebrate, share, study and discuss the local legend’s literary legacy, the conference will present exciting programs about Rawlings’ contemporaries and her influence today with historians as well as tours, lectures and discussions. The weekend kicks off with presentations on Rawlings’ life, including a lecture on her life in St. Augustine, and a trolley tour of the residences of writers who called St. Augustine home led by historian David Nolan. A wine and cheese reception followed by a banquet, featuring historian Gary Mormino as the keynote speaker on his latest books and studies of Florida, will be held Friday evening. Saturday’s events will include a discussion led by four-time Emmy-award winning journalist Bob Kealing, who will give a presentation about The Beatles in 1960s Florida. Saturday will conclude with a scenic river cruise of the Matanzas River.
The weekend will also offer visitors a chance to see a production of the never-before produced short play Color Struck, written by Rawlings’ friend and fellow author Zora Neale Hurston. The play, partially set in St. Augustine, will be performed at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.
“The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society was established with the purpose of facilitating ways by which all who are interested in Rawlings’ writings may learn from each other,” said Darien Andreu, president of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society. “We are excited to present this engaging weekend for participants to learn more about one of Florida’s most renowned writers in a location of such significance to her life.”
Rawlings authored many widely read and respected books including the 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Yearling, subsequently turned into a movie, and the 1942 nonfiction classic, Cross Creek, her memoir on moving from New York City to her cracker-style homestead in Cross Creek, Fla., now the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. During the 1940s, she married her second husband, Norton Sanford Baskin, and spent time between her Cross Creek homestead and her second home in St. Augustine, where Baskin managed their hotel.
This event is hosted by the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, in partnership with the St. Johns Cultural Council.
For tickets to the weekend’s events, visit www.rawlingssociety.org/conferences-upcoming. To make a reservation for the Scenic Matanzas River Cruise, visit scenic-cruise.com
For more information, visit www.historiccoastculture.com