The Education Committee each year nominates a writer and artist to receive the Florida House Distinguished Author and the Florida House Distinguished Artist award. For authors, the Committee examines the nominees' published work of fiction or non-fiction, and determines who best represents the diverse culture and history of the Sunshine State. For artists, the Committee examines themes relating to Florida in a variety of mediums.
Brad Meltzer, Distinguished Author
Brad Meltzer with First Lady Ann Scott
Raised in Brooklyn and Miami, Brad Meltzer actually received credit at Columbia Law School for writing his first book that became The Tenth Justice. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nine other thrillers, many set in Washington, DC. There is usually a mystery to be solved, a puzzle to figure out or a shady character lurking. His core belief is that ordinary people change the world, which is why his curiosity has led him to write comic books, a children’s book series including “I Am Abraham Lincoln,” and a non-fiction collection of heroes for his son and daughter. Brad is also host of the television series Brad Meltzer’s Lost History and Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel.
Dr. James Denham, Author
Dr. James Denham with Dee Ann Smith, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Bart Hudson, Florida House CEO
Dr. Denham is considered one of the foremost scholars on Florida in the territorial and early statehood years. He has just simultaneously published two books, Fifty Years of Justice, a history of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and Florida Founder William P. DuVal: Frontier Bon Vivant, the story of Florida’s early territorial governor. A native of Miami, Dr. Denham is the Department Chair and Professor of History at Florida Southern College and the Director of the Lawton M. Chiles, Jr. Center for Florida History at the college. He is a graduate of Florida State University, received the Preservationist of the Year Award for the City of Lakeland in 2005 and has authored many other books and magazine articles. According to Dr. Sarah McKay, who has known Dr. Denham for many years, he has volumes of information gathered to write a book about Lawton Chiles.
C. Ford Riley, Artist
Randy Wayne White, Author
Gary R. Mormino, Ph.D., Author
A. E. 'Beanie' Backus, Artist *Deceased
Niki and Clyde Butcher, Artists
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Author *Deceased
Christopher M. Still, Artist
Carlton W. Ward, Jr., Author
Jackson Walker, Artist
Bob Beatty, Author
The Highwaymen, Artists