Florida Book Awards Advisory Committee

Florida Book Awards Advisory Committee 

Lester Abberger

Lester Abberger, of Tallahassee, is a director emeritus and past chairman of the Florida Humanities Council. He served as chairman of the national Federation of State Humanities Councils and was a trustee of the National Trust for the Humanities. He is managing partner of B.L. Abberger & Company, senior advisor to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, and a partner of Hometown Neighborhoods, a new urbanist real estate investment, development, and consulting concern. He is a graduate of Davidson College, where he serves on the Board of Visitors, and is a Knight Fellow at the University of Miami School of Architecture.

Martina Brawer

Martina Brawer is the Executive Director of the Florida Library Association. Ms. Brawer is a communications and management professional with experiencer in legislative and grassroots advocacy, policy research and development, project management, strategic planning, grant writing, public relations, and event planning. Prior to joining FLA she was the Executive Director of the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living and the Communications Director for the Healthy Start Coalition of the Big Bend. She began her career in the communications industry, writing for trade publications, creating educational and training products, and producing public affairs and history docuentaries for PBS. Martina has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Communication from the University of Florida and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Florida. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Goodwood Museum and Gardens in Tallahassee, Florida.

Ben Brotemarkle

Dr. Ben Brotemarkle is Executive Director of the Florida Historical Society. He is author of four award-winning books on Florida history and culture, including "Beyond the Theme Parks: Exploring Central Florida" (1999), and most recently "Crossing Division Street: An Oral History of the African American Community in Orlando" (2005). Dr. Brotemarkle has been Professor of Humanities at Brevard Community College, where he was named Distinguished Educator and Barnes and Noble College Booksellers Endowed Faculty Chair of Academic Excellence.

Rick Campbell

Rick Campbell's most recent book of poems is Dixmont, from Autumn House Press. His other books are The Traveler's Companion (Black Bay Books, 2004); and Setting The World In Order (Texas Tech 2001) which won the Walt McDonald Prize; and A Day's Work (State Street Press 2000);. He has won a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He has published poems and essays in many journals including The Georgia ReviewThe Missouri Review, The Florida Review, Prairie Schooner and many others. He is the director of Anhinga Press and teaches in the English department at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Gloria Colvin

Gloria Colvin is a research librarian in the Florida State University Libraries. An active member of state and national library organizations, she has served as president of the Florida Library Association and the North Florida Library Association and in several capacities with the Association of College and Research Libraries. She earned a B.A. and M.A.T. from Duke University and an M.S.L.S. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. An avid reader, she especially enjoys literary fiction and participates in several book discussion groups. She currently serves as Chair of the Florida Book Awards Executive Committee.

Susan Contente

Susan Contente began working as the Director of Development for Florida State University Libraries in summer of 2012. She has over 15 years of experience in fundraising and began her career at the Wildlife Conservation Society – located at the world-renowned Bronx Zoo, and has also worked for a homeless shelter, social service and mental health community center, as well as a small community foundation. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in English and philosophy, and lives in Tallahassee with her husband Professor G. Kurt Piehler, director of the FSU Institute on World War II, and her family.

Janine Farver

Janine Farver is the Executive Director of the Florida Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  She joined the staff of FHC in 1992, and has worked on a variety of projects for the Council including television documentaries, cultural tourism resources, publications, and literary programs. Before working at FHC, she was the Station Manager at WMNF, a public radio station in Tampa, Florida.

John Fenstermaker

JOHN FENSTERMAKER is Fred L. Standley Professor of English and University Distinguished Teacher, Emeritus, and co-founder of the Florida Book Awards. He specializes in Victorian and Modern American literature and culture and was English Department Chair (1982-1994) and Director of the Program in American and Florida Studies (2001-2008).  Active in the profession of English Studies, he has served as President of the Florida College English Association, the Florida Association of Departments of English, The South Atlantic Association of Departments of English, and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. His most recent book is The Art of Literary Research (with Richard D. Altick). His principal scholarly interest is Ernest Hemingway, particularly the author's life and work between the World Wars.

Chrissy Jackson

Chrissy Jackson is President of the Florida Writers Association, a nonprofit professional organization of more than 1,300 emerging and established writers, publishers, and editors concentrated in Florida but also reaching across the nation as well as internationally. She joined FWA shortly after it was founded in 2001, and within ten months was elected Vice President. In 2005 she also became FWA's Conference Director, a function she continues to fill. In November 2007, Ms. Jackson co-founded the Florida Writers Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to promoting literacy throughout Florida. Ms. Jackson is an award-winning author herself, with publication credits in several genres, including more than 30 nonfiction books on property management.

Michael Jarrett

Michelle Jarrett is a former school library media specialist and currently serves as the School Library Supervisor for the School District of Osceola County. She was the 2014-2015 President of the Florida Association for Media in Education and now is the chairperson of the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME)'s Legislative Committee. Michelle resides in Winter Haven, Florida with her husband and 2 school age children.

Amy Johnson

Amy L. Johnson was appointed State Librarian and Director of the Division of Library and Information Services at the Florida Department of State in February 2015. Since joining the Division in 2000 Ms. Johnson has held several positions. Prior to joining the Florida Department of State, Ms. Johnson was a Librarian at the Marshall W. Hamilton Library at North Florida Community College in Madison, Florida. Ms. Johnson completed a Master of Science in Library Science degree at Florida State University. She completed her undergraduate education at The University of The South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Terry Lewis

Terry Lewis has been a trial Judge in Tallahassee since 1989, where he presides over a variety of criminal and civil cases. He has been active over the years in a number of professional, educational and community service organizations, including: Inns of Court, Committee on Civil Jury instructions, Education Chair for County and Circuit Judge Conferences, Faculty for Florida Judicial College and College of Advanced Judicial Studies, Leadership Tallahassee, Leadership Florida, YMCA Board, Tallahassee Rotary Club President, Kids Voting, Teen Court, Justice Teaching Institute, Local, Statewide and National High School Mock Trial Competition. His professional awards include Judge of the Year, Florida Law Related Education Association - 1993, Judge Harvey Ford Leadership Award - 1996, Trial Judge of the Year Award, American Board of Trial Advocates - 2000.
The judge began work on a novel in 1990. Seven years, two writing courses, and many books and articles later, his first novel, Conflict of Interest, a Murder mystery set in Tallahassee, was published by Pineapple Press. His second novel, Privileged Information, was released in 2003. His third is expected out in 2013.
Terry's wife, Fran, is a guidance counselor. They have one daughter, Angie. Terry likes to relax with a tennis or basketball, a good book, or film.

Lissette Mendez

Ms. Lissette Mendez joined the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College in August 2004 as Program Coordinator. Ms. Mendez is a writer who has published poetry and creative nonfiction in anthologies and national literary magazines, as well as a variety of articles for Miami-based magazines and newspapers. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as Editorial Director in the Office of Marketing and Publications at Miami Dade College. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Florida International University.

Richard Myhre

Richard Myhre is the director of Just Read, Florida! Prior to accepting this position, Mr. Myhre, served as principal of Wakulla Middle School, as well as having served as the Dean of Students at Crawfordville Elementary and taught at Wakulla High School. Mr. Myhre has a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and is a recent graduate of the Commissioner's Leadership Academy.

Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith is Executive Director of the Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC). As a statewide umbrella literacy organization and the host of Florida’s Adult and Family Literacy Resource Center, FLC provides a range of services to support more than 250 adult education, literacy and family literacy providers throughout Florida. Prior to joining the Coalition in 2002, Greg served for 13 years as Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, Virginia’s oldest and largest community-based literacy organization.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Adult and Continuing Education from Virginia Tech and is Chair of ProLiteracy America’s Council of State Organizations. 

Wayne A. Weigand

Wayne A. Wiegand is F. William Summers Professor-Emeritus, and Senior Scholar-In-Residence at the PALM Center of Florida State University. He is the President of The Florida State University Friends of the University Libraries and represents the Friends on this board. Wayne is working on a history of the American public library, a history of the American public school library, and with Shirley Wiegand a history of the desegregation of public libraries in the American South between 1954 and 1968.

Julia Zimmerman

Julia Zimmerman is Dean of University Libraries at Florida State University. Prior to her appointment at FSU in 2007, she was Dean of Libraries at Ohio University. She has also held positions at Georgia Institute of Technology, Penn State University, and Wake Forest University, and has been active in state, regional and national library organizations. Julia holds degrees from Florida State University and Emory University. A fifth-generation Floridian and an enthusiastic reader of Florida history and fiction, Julia is delighted that the Florida Book Awards are now headquartered at the FSU Libraries.

Tara Zimmermann

Tara Zimmermann has been with Florida Center for the Book since 2001. She has developed and produced hundreds of author events, writer's workshops and literary events including Broward County Library's first One Book, One Community reading program and five National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiatives. Prior to joining Florida Center for the Book she was a buyer for an independent book store in South Florida for six years. Florida Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the library of Congress, brings readers and writers together, promotes books, reading and libraries, and celebrates the literary heritage of Florida.