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Contact: Katie Kole

Secretary Detzner Honors Florida Heritage Award Winners

Tallahassee –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner will honor Florida Heritage Award winners in a ceremony today in downtown Tallahassee. The 12th annual Florida Heritage Month Awards ceremony kicks-off a month-long celebration from March 15 to April 15, recognizing Floridians who have made contributions to the state in historic preservation, literature, folk heritage, and visual and performing arts.

 "Florida Heritage Award winners are uniquely talented individuals who preserve and uphold our state’s traditions while making Florida a tremendous cultural destination," said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "By recognizing these great talents and the Florida legacy they represent, the Florida Heritage Awards demonstrate how history, literature and the arts instill community pride while propelling our state’s booming cultural and heritage tourism sector.”

 The Florida Heritage Month Awards are being presented on March 11, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. in Tallahassee, in the Heritage Hall of the R.A. Gray Building. This year, the Florida Heritage Awards coincide with Florida Tourism Day to spotlight the importance of cultural heritage tourism in the state, which resulted in $2.55 billion in direct spending in 2013.

 12th Annual Florida Heritage Award Winners:

 Florida Book Awards

The Florida Book Awards recognize and celebrate the previous year’s best books penned by residents of the Sunshine State.

  • Children’s Literature
    Mike Maihack
    (Hillsborough County)
    Cleopatra in Space
  • Florida Nonfiction
    Viviana Díaz Balsera
    (Miami-Dade County) and Rachel A. May (Hillsborough County)
    La Florida: Five Hundred Years of Hispanic Presence
  • General Fiction
    Sue Monk Kidd
    (Collier County)
    The Invention of Wings
  • General Nonfiction
    David B. Axelrod
    (Volusia County), Lenny Schneir (Volusia County), and Carol Thomas (Flagler County)
    Merlin Stone Remembered
  • Poetry
    Erin Belieu
    (Leon County)
    Slant Six
  • Popular Fiction
    Randy Wayne White
    (Lee County)
  • Spanish Language
    José M. Fernández Pequeño
    (Miami-Dade County)
    El Arma Secreta
  • Visual Arts
    Amanda B. Carlson
    (Hartford, CT) and Robin Poynor (Alachua County)
    Africa in Florida: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State
  • Young Adult
    Madeleine Kuderick
    (Pinellas County)
    Kiss of Broken Glass

Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing

The Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing honors a living Florida author for a distinguished body of work that has had a major influence on Floridians. 

  • Gary Mormino (Pinellas County) 

Folk Heritage Awards

The Folk Heritage Awardsare given to outstanding folk artists and folk culture advocates who have made long-standing contributions to the folk cultural resources of the state. 

  • Lorene Gopher (Glades County) - Folklife Advocate of Seminole language and culture 
  • Calvin “Buddy” Mills (Okeechobee County)- Cracker whip-maker
  • Ruby Shaw (Hamilton County)- North Florida foodways

Secretary of State Historic Preservation Awards

The Secretary of State Historic Preservation Awards are presented to a volunteer and a public employee whose passion for, or service in, historic preservation has forever changed the face of Florida.

  • Senator Bob Williams Award
    Dr. Della Scott-Ireton
    (Escambia County)
  • Mary Call Darby Collins Award
    Becky Roper Matkov
    (Miami-Dade County)

Florida Artists Hall of Fame

The Florida Artists Hall of Fame recognizes persons, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the arts in Florida either as performing or practicing artists in individual disciplines.

  • Carlisle Floyd (Leon County)

Learn more about the Florida Heritage Award Winners at For information about Florida Heritage Month activities, visit


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