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Fearsome Creatures of Florida

Thursday, January 6, 2022, 6:30 – 8 p.m. (online)

In medieval history, a bestiary was a collection of short descriptions about all kinds of animals that often blended the real with the mythical. Medieval writers and illustrators sought to shock, entertain, and edify their audiences with moral lessons drawn from the traits of exotic and imagined creatures.

Today we can get our fill of strange, even dangerous, creatures in zoos, photographs, and TV shows, furthering our fascination with beasts of legend and lore. In this program, writer  John Henry Fleming discusses the history of bestiaries, modern examples, and the origins of his own book, Fearsome Creatures of Florida, a collection of legendary and invented Florida creatures including the Skunk Ape, Gordo the Monkeynaut, and the Were-Panther. Creepy readings and animations included!

About the speaker

John Henry Fleming’s stories have been called “joyful, deranged,” and “endlessly surprising,” as well as “required reading for anyone who lives in Florida” and “campfire tales from the state’s coolest scout leader.” He is the author of a literary bestiary, Fearsome Creatures of Florida; a short-story collection, Songs for the Deaf; and the novels The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman and The Book I Will Write. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of South Florida and is the founder and advisory editor of the literary magazine Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.