Patrick R. Smith
Patrick Smith is a 1999 inductee into
the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, which is the highest and most
prestigious cultural honor that can be bestowed upon an individual
by the State of Florida. A native of Mississippi, he holds a B.A.
degree and a Master's degree in English from the University of
Mississippi. He moved to Florida in 1966, but his ties to Florida
go back much farther than that.
In May 2002 Smith was the recipient of the Florida Historical Society's
Fay Schweim Award as the "Greatest Living Floridian." The
one-time-only award was established to honor the one individual who
has contributed the most to Florida in recent history. Smith was
cited for the impact that his novels have made on Floridians, both
natives and newcomers to the state, and for the worldwide acclaim
he has received.
Smith is the author of seven novels: The River Is Home, The Beginning,
Forever Island, Angel City, Allapattah, A Land Remembered and The Seas
That Mourn. He is also co-author of the non-fiction book The Last Ride,
and author of the non-fiction book In Search of the Russian Bear, which
is set in Russia and in Uzbekistan in Middle Asia.
Smith has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize: in 1973 for Forever
Island, which was a 1974 selection of the Reader's Digest Condensed Book Club
and has been published in 46 countries; in 1978 for Angel City, which was produced
as a "Movie of the Week" for the CBS television network and has aired
Iworldwide; and in 1984 for A Land Remembered, which was an Editor’s Choice
selection of the New York Times Book Review. In 2002, The Best of Florida statewide
poll taken by Florida Monthly magazine ranked A Land Remembered as the # 1 Best
Florida Book. The novel also ranked # 1 in the 2001 poll.
Smith's lifetime work was nominated for the 1985 Nobel Prize for Literature,
and since then he has received five additional nominations. Previous honors include:
Tebeau Prize for A Land Remembered, as the Most Outstanding Florida Historical
Novel, Florida Historical Society, 1986; Outstanding Author Award, Council for
Florida Libraries, 1986; Outstanding Florida Author Award, Space Coast Writer's
Guild, 1987; Communications Achievement Award, Toastmasters International, 1987;
Environmental Writer's Award, Florida Audubon Society, 1987; FLORIDA TODAY Best
Writer Award, 1987, 1990 and 1992; Medal of Honor, National Society of I Daughters
of the American Revolution (highest national award), 1988; Order of the South
Award, Southern Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences (highest literary award),
1996; Florida Ambassador of the Arts Award, Florida Department of State, 1996;
the first Florida Cracker Heritage Award, presented for outstanding contributions
to Florida pioneer heritage, Florida Cracker Trail Association, 1997; Lifetime
Achievement Award, Lee County Reading Festival, Fort Myers, 2001.
In 1990, Florida PBS-TV released a documentary, "VISIONS OF NATURE -- Patrick
Smith's Florida," which portrays his work as a writer and the extensive "on-site" research
he has done for his novels. In October 1990, he received the University of Mississippi's
Distinguished Alumni Award and was inducted into the University's Alumni Hall
of Fame. In 1997, the Florida Historical Society created a new annual award,
the Patrick D. Smith Florida Literature Award, in his honor.
Smith made lecture tours in Russia and Middle Asia in 1983 and in 1986. Also
in 1986, he was the keynote speaker for a 57-nation International Writers Meeting
held in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Also the author of numerous short stories, essays and articles, Smith resides
with his wife Iris on Merritt Island.