21st Emerald Coast Review Anthology has record number of regional writers, artists

Special to Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK

PENSACOLA  — The West Florida Literary Federation (WFLF) released its 21st Emerald Coast Review (ECR) featuring a record number of writers and artists from Baldwin, Alabama, to Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, and as far as Gulf County. 

The West Florida Literary Federation released its 21st Emerald Coast Review featuring a record number of writers and artists from Baldwin, Alabama to Escambia, Santa Rosa and as far as Gulf County, FL.

This anthology has been published biannually since 1989. The publication features quality fiction, nonfiction, poetry, contemporary, emerging, and experimental works along with the best of art, graphic design and photography from area writers and artists living along coastal Florida and Alabama.

ECR Managing Editor Diane Skelton said in the anthology’s foreword, “The effects of COVID-19 and quarantine on the creative spirit will be researched by psychologists, sociologists, and historians for decades to come. However, if they were to open this 21st volume of the Emerald Coast Review, and read these 83 pieces of prose, poetry and art, they would agree the creative spirit is thriving in our coastal region and beyond.

"Writers and artists answered the call for submissions for this ECR in remarkable numbers, offering exceptional work," she added. "Perhaps it was a result of the emotional roller coaster caused by a pandemic, the opportunity to create, offered by a lockdown, or the urge to release pent-up frustrations, but this volume is like no other in scope.”

The release of the 2021 Emerald Coast Review included a virtual book launch.

Common themes in this anthology include life and love, death and disaster, nature and beauty, injustice and inequality. From tales of the homeless and the haunted, to poignant pieces reflecting life in the time of COVID-19, the reader travels with the writer to imaginary and real places.

Whether it’s taking a literary walk, digging through the aftermath of a hurricane, marveling at ripples of sand, or tending a dying patient, the words and images captivate and immerse the reader. In the final section of the book, local student poetry winners from Escambia and Santa Rosa County are featured from the WFLF youth writing committee contest that was held in April in conjunction with National Literacy Week to promote creativity and student writing.

Members of WFLF and contributors to the ECR attended a virtual launch of the 21st anthology on Oct. 19 on Zoom in which 13 scheduled readers and artists showcased their pieces from the book. More than 30 attendees participated in the event.

To purchase a copy of the ECR XXI, visit https://amzn.to/3AXRkzx or look for the WFLF book at the upcoming Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, which is Nov. 5-7 in Pensacola. 

For more information about WFLF and the ECR, visit wflf.org or email Emeraldcoastreview@gmail.com.