A Chat With A 'Son of Real Florida'

Jun 6, 2018

While he wasn’t actually born in Florida, Jeff Klinkenberg's parents moved to Miami from Chicago when he was 2 years old, and Klinkenberg is about as Florida as it gets.


He grew up in pre-air conditioned Miami, fishing in the Everglades and Florida Bay. He wrote his first book about Davy Crockett when he was just 6. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1971 and got his first job in journalism at The Miami News, where he worked until moving to what was, at the time, called the St. Petersburg Times, before becoming the Tampa Bay Times where he wrote his Real Florida column until retiring in 2013.


Klinkenberg’s won a number of awards for his writing over the years, including the Florida Humanities Council’s 2018 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and the 2018 Florida Folk Heritage Award. His previous books include "Alligators in B-Flat," "Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida," "Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators," "More Stories About Real Florida" and "Seasons of Real Florida."


Klinkenberg joins Gulf Coast Life to discuss his new book, "Son of Real Florida," a retrospective of essays that span his life, the people he’s met and the places he’s visited.