Community Events for Emerald Coast Writers

Community Events

Past Events


2023 Youth Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

We had over 100 fantastic entries from talented local young writers and artists to our 2023 youth contest! The winners in K-12th grades from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties will be celebrated and given awards on Saturday, May 20th, starting at 2:00 PM at Books a Million on Davis Highway, Pensacola. Local writers and artists will attend to speak to the winners. Congratulations to our winners!!

2023 Youth Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

April 2023 Haiku Slam and Open Mic

April 18th Haiku Slam & Open Mic!
DATE: APRIL 18, 2023
TIME: 6:00 – 8:30 PM
PLACE: Pensacola Cultural Center, Boardroom, 2nd Floor, 400 S. Jefferson St.
Description: Emerald Coast Writers (ECW) invites YOU to its premiere 2023 LIVE OPEN MIC, including a Haiku Slam with prizes for National Poetry Month!
NETWORKING 6:00—6:30
HAIKU SLAM 6:45—7:15 & OPEN MIC 7:30—8: 30

April 2023 Haiku Slam and Open Mic

January Meeting and Open Mic

Writers, we are entering a new year. And we are kicking off our first Open Mic at a new date and time for this meeting only. Join us for this one-time, special event on Jan. 24th at 6:30 p.m. Meeting begins at 7 p.m. The first 30 minutes will be greetings, updates and post-holiday talk. Since it's a new year, it's time to think outside your comfort zone and how you can write in new ways and possibly in new genres, formats, and styles. Two ECW members will serve as our guest speakers -- Andrea Walker and Pat Black-Gould will share how they've pushed themselves outside their comfort zone and found a successful new path. Their stories will inspire you and hopefully cause you to think differently about your own writing goals and success. The open mic will follow. If you know you want to read, sign up ahead of time. Please read something new or at least new to ECW that hasn't been shared at an open mic before.

If you know you'd like to read, let host Mandy Fernandez know so she can plan for you (email her at [email protected]). If you decide to read at the event, a time limit may be used, depending on the number of interested readers and formats. We hope to see you there. Check your email for a registation link.

January Meeting and Open Mic

Poetry, Prose & Verse: A Discussion Connecting Music & Language

Join us for a preview of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert with a discussion about the connection between music and language. The event features former West Florida Poet Laureate Jamey Jones and local poet, Charles McCaskill. Full details are HERE.

Poetry, Prose & Verse: A Discussion Connecting Music & Language

Flash Memoir Contest 2022

Think back on your flashpoint moments, your pivotal scenes, the revealing snapshots in time, the short take on a brief but oh-so-meaningful encounter. In no more than 800 words, share the heart of your story, the keepsake take-away, the kernel, the essence. Distill your experience, impact us with its meaning. Submissions open January 1 for West Florida Literary Federation's contest for short, creative nonfiction, In Focus: A Contest for Flash Memoir.

The contest is open to any member of the West Florida Literary Federation (WFLF), Florida Writers Association (FWA), and any resident of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton or Bay counties (Florida) or Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia counties (Alabama). There is no entry fee for WFLF members; non-members pay $10, which goes to support programs and projects which promote the literary arts.

First, second and third place will be awarded cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25. Honorable mentions will receive certificates of merit. Winning memoirs will be published in West Florida Literary Federation’s electronic newsletter, The Legend, which will be emailed to winners and WFLF members. Winners will be announced at the Federation’s annual meeting in Pensacola, Florida, which is scheduled for February 2022.
Luke Wallin, professor of creative writing, former Editor of The Louisville Review, and award-winning author of national acclaim, will serve as a guest judge.

Submissions will be accepted only by the Submittable online submission manager. Submissions open January 1, 2022 and close midnight January 31, 2022. The link to submit will be available in mid-December.

Flash Memoir Contest 2022

Chapbook Contest 2021

Join the 2020 winner and see your poetry chapbook published by the WFLF in 2021!

Full details available HERE.

The 2021 winning chapbook receives 2022 publication contract, publication through Amazon KDP, five free author copies, and a $100 prize.

SUBMISSION DATES: December 5 – 20, 2021
FEE: $15.00 (Members) $20 (Non-Members –Includes 2022 Membership)
WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: January 18, 2022 Open Mic
JUDGE: Katherine Nelson-Born, Poet Laureate of Northwest Florida Author of When Mockingbirds Sing Available HERE on Amazon

2020 NOVPAD Challenge Winner Lori Zavada
Her book, First Flight is Available HERE on Amazon

Chapbook Contest 2021

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival 2021

This weekend, members of the West Florida Literary Federation will have a booth in the 2021 Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival. Books by member-authors as well as our semi-annual anthology, Emerald Coast Review XXI, will be available for purchase.

The arts festival was conceived in 1972 by a group of art patrons who wanted to expand the gatherings of local artists displaying their work in the downtown area. The “Great Gulfcoast” moniker was suggested by News Journal editor J. Earle Bowden to give the event a regional identity.

The Festival takes place in Seville Square on Nov. 5, 6, & 7, 2021. Hours are 9-5 on Friday and Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday. Children’s Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday 10-4.

Come visit with our authors and find your next great read!

Admission to the festival is free.

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival 2021

Poem-a-day November 2021

The west Florida Literary Federation (WFLF) and the poet laureate of Northwest Florida invite you to write a poem-a-day November 2021
Join the WFLF’s annual celebration of poetry!
HOST: Poet Laureate of Northwest Florida, Katherine Nelson-Born
EVENT: poem-a-day (PAD) chapbook contest
DATE: November 1-30, 2021
WHERE: WFLF Facebook Page –
MOTTO: Healing of poetry is for everyone (HOPE)
NOVEMBER 1-30, 2021, WFLF posts each morning on its Facebook page and Twitter a daily poetry prompt for your writing pleasure. #WFLFNOVPAD
ANYONE ANYWHERE can participate in the PAD, but original work only please!
STAY TUNED for submission guidelines later in November for how to submit poetry manuscript of 20-30 pages in December! Check the WFLF’s website and FB page.
Winning chapbook gets 2022 publication & a cash prize. Submissions December 1-15, 2021.
Winner announced January 2022 at WFLF’s 3rd Tuesday Open Mic with publication in time to celebrate YOUR new chapbook during National Poetry Month in April 2022!
Chapbook Final Judge is Northwest Poet Laureate Katherine Nelson-Born. Contest is limited to first 50 submissions.

Poem-a-day November 2021

Self-Publishing Webinar Part 2

I want to self-publish. Now what? Traditional publishing is not the best or fastest route for every author. Self-publishing may be the answer, but it can be overwhelming. In this series of webinars from West Florida Literary Federation, Tom Roberts, author of two self-published books, will discuss the self-publishing options you have. His knowledge will help you decide the best path is for your book, whether it’s a novel, a collection of poetry or short stories, or a work of non-fiction. Receive an honest, objective look at the self-publishing environment to help you decide when you should do it, and—if you do—how to be effective in your efforts, without damaging your credibility or investing too much money. There are more options than ever to produce your book and make it available for sale—without needing help or approval from a publisher. Obtain answers to such questions as: What are the best services available for self-publishing? How much does it cost to produce a good-quality e-book or print book? What are effective marketing strategies? You’ll learn how to create and distribute an e-book or print book. Each webinar in the series includes time for a Q&A session. NOTE: You do not need a PayPal account to purchase tickets. You may buy tickets using a credit card.

Self-Publishing Webinar Part 2


Sponsored by the WFLF, the Northwest Florida Poet Laureate’s January Facebook Haiku Challenge was a prelude to Pensacola’s February Haiku Slam, a/k/a Haiku Death Match with Asia and Friends and Voices of the Republic February 27, 2021, 6-8 PM at the Emerald Republic Brew Pub, an excellent outdoor venue for practicing your Haikus live and engaging in social distancing while enjoying a locally brewed beverage. For more information, check out the WFLF Facebook page:


Self-Publishing Workshop Part 1

West Florida Literary Federation invites you to a free webinar, Self-Publishing, presented by Tom Roberts, and scheduled for January 26 at 7:00 pm. The webinar will be hosted on Zoom. In the first part of this multi-part workshop, Tom—a self-published author of two books—will provide an overview of the contemporary self-publishing process. Subsequent workshops will dive into the details of each step of the self-publishing process, from pre-publication planning in your particular writing niche to final production to marketing fundamentals. Future workshops will cost $5 for members and $10 for non-members, with all proceeds going to WFLF.

Pre-registration is required. Check your email for your invitation or send a request to [email protected] and we'll get you an invite. We hope you join us for this and many workshops coming from WFLF in 2021!

Self-Publishing Workshop Part 1

2021 Youth Poetry Contest

The West Florida Literary Federation (WFLF) cares about the students of Northwest Florida, and along with their teachers, encourages them to participate in our 2021 youth poetry contest titled “Unmuted Voices.”

This year we are offering middle and high school students three writing choices that will empower their creativity, let them share their voices, and contribute to their language development. Students can select one of these themes for their poems:

Hope and Healing
Changes and Challenges

As many WFLF members are current or former teachers, we want to ease the participation of classroom teachers by providing a videotaped lesson that they can use to introduce this contest and help students begin their poems. This lesson will complement the literary arts curriculum and help students achieve the Florida standards for writing skills.

Prizes will be awarded, and an awards ceremony will be held in April for National Poetry Month.

Please click here for a downloadable entry form.

Classroom teachers, please contact Karen Morris at [email protected] if you wish to receive the video.

WFLF’s Youth Poetry Contest Committee
Charline Barger
Mandy Fernandez
Marc Livanos
Claire Massey
Karen Morris
Lisa Rawson
Jeannie Zokan


2021 Unmuted Voices Youth Poetry Contest

Where can I find an entry form for my student?
The 2021 entry form can be found here.

What are this year’s themes?
Hope and Healing, Changes and Challenges, Mirrors/Windows/Views

Who can participate?
All public, private, or home-schooled Escambia and Santa Rosa County students in grades 6-12.

What prizes will be awarded?
First place ($50), second place ($30) and third place ($15), and up to 5 honorable mentions will be awarded in two categories: high school and middle school. An Awards Ceremony/Poetry Reading for winning poets, their families, and their friends will be held in April, National Poetry Month.

What are the criteria for judging?
How well your poem:    

    …is original, a product of your own experience, observations, and world    
    …shows evidence of poetic elements
    …uses vivid, sensory language and imagery
    …uses correct grammar and spelling
     …adheres to the theme
    …is one page or less
    …has overall effectiveness and impact

When is the entry deadline?  
Your poem and contest entry form must be received by Monday, March 1, 2021.

If I have questions, is there someone I can contact?
Lisa Rawson (850 982-8736 or at [email protected])

2021 Youth Poetry Contest

Annual Membership Meeting 2020

The West Florida Literary Federation will hold its annual membership meeting on February 28, 2020, from 5:30-9:00 pm at the Studer Community Institute’s community room and atrium located at 220 W Garden St #100, Pensacola, FL 32502. The meeting is open to all members and their guests. Main entrees, sides, salad, and beverages will be provided by WFLF. Members may volunteer to bring snacks and desserts by signing up at the February 18 Open Mic or by emailing Bob Holmes at [email protected]. During the meeting you may sign up for membership and pay your annual dues by check, cash, or credit card.

Annual Membership Meeting 2020

Pensacola Writing and Book Festival

FREE! Calling all novice or published writers and book lovers of all ages. Learn tips from 10 published authors on how to start writing, publish your novel, memoir, romance, thriller and more. Kids’ Korner with puppets and fantasy dragons. Keynote speaker New York Times best-selling author Lenora Worth. “Write Funny Stuff” with PNJ editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette. Special panel of military veteran authors. Sign up to pitch your draft book to WordCrafts Press for possible publication. And much more! For more info, visit and


Pre-register for FREE tickets here

Event Schedule

9:00 – 9:45 a.m. – Vendors Atrium – Registration; Sign up for free books and door prizes (must be present to win)

9:45 – 5:00 p.m. – Vendors Atrium – Meet the Authors book sales & signing

9:45 -10:00 a.m. – Conference Room – Welcome by ED STANFORD, President, West Florida Literary Federation; SUSAN LEWIS, President, Gulf Coast Authors

10:00-11:00 a.m. – Conference Room – Romancing the Word: Writing Romance Novels LENORA WORTH, New York Times & USA Today best-selling author. Worth has written more than 80 books, with more than 3 million in print. Titles include, Deep Undercover, Survival Mission, Closing the Deal and Christmas Rescue. She is also a 2019 Romance Writers of America RITA© Award finalist.

11:15-12:15 p.m. – Conference Room – So You Want to Write — How to Begin: Creating Writing Spaces, Outlines, Writing Page One; LARRY WILLIAMSON, author of Tallapoosa and Muskogi Sunset: The Second Creek War of 1836, and Auburn University Professional & Continuing Ed novel-writing  instructor

12:15 -1:00 p.m. – Vendor Atrium – Lunch (available for purchase)

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Conference Room – So You’ve Written Your Story: Now What? How to Edit, Publish & Copyright Your Book MIKE PARKER, WordCrafts Press editor & acquiring publisher; the publisher’s perspective; PAULA K. PARKER,  playwright/author/freelance writer of over 1000 articles, plays, novels, non-fiction and more; agent query letters and publishing from an author’s perspective;  M.M. Le BLANC, JD, 7-time award-winning author/screenwriter of 14 books; copyrights

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. – Conference Room – Honoring Our Veterans in Books: Thrillers, Memoirs, Mysteries and Inspirational Personal Development MICHAEL BYARS LEWIS, Amazon #1 International Best-selling  Author, 2016 Military Writer’s Society of America Thriller SILVER MEDAL WINNER and former USAF Special Ops; RACHEL COGGINS, author of Gateway to Iraq: A Chaplain’s Story and former U.S. Army Chaplain; JANICE RYAN HALL, author of 7 books and 3 awards, and a veteran of a 23-year U.S. Army career; GARY WESTFAL, Amazon # 1 Best-selling novelist, life skills coach, former air traffic controller and USAF veteran.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
– Conference Room – Lions & Tigers & Humor, Oh My! How to Write Funny Stuff!; ANDY MARLETTE, Pensacola News Journal editorial cartoonist, journalist and author

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Conference Room – Door Prize Bonanza Giveaway! (must be present to win)

WRITERS! Pitch your Manuscripts. MIKE PARKER, WordCrafts Press Acquiring Publisher, will take 5-minute pitches from writers with manuscripts about the possibility of publishing your book (first come, first served)!

KIDS KORNER ACTIVITIES (all in Atrium Lobby)

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. – Welcome by LISA RAWSON, West Florida Literary Federation Board Member

10:00-11:00 a.m.Children’s Puppet Storytelling Hour (ages 4-9); LAURA RICHARDS as “The Queen”

11:15-12:15 p.m. Children’s Collage and Story Hour (ages 4-9); LAURA RICHARDS as “The Queen”

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.How to Write Fantasy Stories: Teen/Tween Expand Your Imagination, Part I (ages 10-17); VICKI SHANKWITZ, author of the Dragon Master Series

2:15 – 2:55 p.m.Illustrating Dragons & Other Fantastic Creatures: Teen/Tween Expand Your Imagination, Part II: (ages 10-17); ROBERT SHANKWITZ III, Dragon Master Series illustrator

2:55 – 3:00 p.m.Kids’ Korner Door Prize Bonanza Giveaway! (must be present to win)

Email for more info: [email protected]

Visit: or

Pensacola Writing and Book Festival

Joshilyn Jackson Workshop Tickets

Tickets for the Joshilyn Jackson Workshop will be available Thursday, September 12, on the website of Eventbrite, the event and ticket management service. Ticket prices are $25 for members of the West Florida Literary Federation and $45 for non-members. The workshop will be held on November 8, 2019, at the Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street, Pensacola and is limited to 40 participants. Purchase your tickets here: Joshilyn Jackson Workshop Tickets

Ms. Jackson’s latest book, Never Have I Ever, is available at local bookstores and online.

Joshilyn Jackson Workshop Tickets

Third Tuesday Open Mic

Come to listen and/or to read.

Bring your creative writing: prose or poetry (5-minute time limit please).

Bring a friend -- Bring a snack to share.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

6:30 p.m.

Pensacola Cultural Center - 400 South Jefferson Street room 201

Pensacola, FL. 32502

Third Tuesday Open Mic


Free Event Open to All! Come Listen or Read

6:30pm - Social
7:00pm - Readings Begin


Memoir Writing Workshop presented by Katherine Clark

COST for solo workshop $10
VALUE OFFER Workshop + VIP EVENT + WFLF Membership + T-shirt $25

Award-winning author Katherine Clark has published four novels and three oral biographies.  In her workshop, she will explain the unique nature of an oral biography, which involves the spoken rather than the written word, along with a special collaboration between a subject and an author.  If you have a fascinating relative in the family or a character in your life full of valuable memories and stories, you will want to learn about this particular genre of biography, which entails recording conversations and editing transcripts of these recordings into a narrative that captures the character, the life, the stories and reminiscences of someone whose voice deserves to be heard and preserved.  This workshop will take you step by step through the process of creating an oral biography from start to finish.
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Memoir Writing Workshop presented by Katherine Clark

Social Media and Blogging Content Workshop by Erik Deckers

COST for solo workshop $10
VALUE OFFER Workshop + VIP EVENT + WFLF Membership + T-shirt $25

Writers who successfully brand themselves online are the ones who see success. Today, thanks to social media, it's easy to create a personal brand that speaks volumes about our ability and experience. Learn how blogging can establish your reputation, Facebook and Twitter can find new readers, web analytics measures your success, and how to bring it all together into one package.  
Erik Deckers, author of "Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself" and "No Bullshit Social Media" will teach you how to use social media to grow your professional reputation, your personal brand, and how to turn your social networking connections into new publishing opportunities, speaking engagements, and even new books.
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Social Media and Blogging Content Workshop by Erik Deckers

Songwriting Workshop presented by Sugarcane Jane

COST for solo workshop $10
VALUE OFFER Workshop + VIP EVENT + WFLF Membership + T-shirt $25

In a career spanning over four decades, Anthony Crawford of Sugarcane Jane has amassed over four hundred songs, some of which have been recorded by artists such as Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam, Lee Greenwood, Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Lorrie Morgan, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and others.  His unique writing style will inspire beginners as well as professionals to reach their full potential as a songwriter.  In this workshop, Anthony will explain how to find and maintain inspiration while using both melody and lyric to shape an idea to its fruition.” ~ Anthony Crawford, Sugarcane Jane
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Songwriting Workshop presented by Sugarcane Jane

You the Writer After Workshop VIP Reception at ARTEL

Food, Wine and Entertainment featuring Sugarcane Jane
VALUE OFFER VIP EVENT + WFLF Membership + T-shirt $25

All the featured guests will engage in a panel discussion followed by live entertainment. This is a great opportunity to become part of the creative writing community. Whether it’s your first word on paper or one plus a million, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of a literary organization rooted in Pensacola since 1986 and everyone is welcomed.
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You the Writer After Workshop VIP Reception at ARTEL
Emerald Coast Writers: Writers Helping Writers

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