Writers Against Trump’s plenary sessions are open to all writers who are interested in helping on the ground efforts in key swing states. Our fifth plenary session features a panel of writers and activists from the state of Florida and will be hosted by writer and former NPR correspondent Diane Roberts and W.A.T founding member Askold Melnyczuk.
Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee. Educated at FSU and Oxford University, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Tampa Bay Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Garden & Gun. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.
Rick Wilson is a renowned Republican political strategist, writer, speaker, and political commentator. A 30-year veteran of national Republican politics, Rick got his start in the 1988 Presidential campaign of George Herbert Walker Bush. He produced groundbreaking and winning political advertising for Presidents, Senators, Governors, House Members. His two New York Times Bestsellers are Everything Trump Touches Dies and Running Against the Devil. He writes an award-winning column for the Daily Beast and is a regular on CNN, MSNBC and Real Time with Bill Maher. He also writes for Rolling Stone, Politico, The Hill and elsewhere. He is co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a group of Republican consultants and activists dedicated to defeating Donald Trump. He lives in Tallahassee.
Evelyn Pérez-Verdía is an experienced bilingual businesswoman and multicultural strategist. She often contributes to CNN en Español and has been quoted or has appeared on Univision, Telemundo, The Associated Press, NBC, The New York Times, and elsewhere. At the age of 27, Evelyn received an appointment as the President of the Hispanic Alliance of Tampa Bay, a nonprofit that represented 36 different Latino organizations in the Tampa Bay area. She has also served as chair or board member on numerous nonprofits focused on diversity. From 2007- 2016, Ev was a communications and engagement consultant for two of the largest elections’ offices in Florida (Broward and Hillsborough County). She’s also worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Federal Caseworker.
Mitchell Kaplan, a native of Miami Beach, opened the first Books & Books in 1982 in Coral Gables, Florida. Now with five South Florida locations, Books & Books hosts over 400 events per year. Among his honors, Mitchell served as president of the American Booksellers Association and he received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation. Co-founder of the Miami Book Fair, Mitchell continues to guide the programming team at the Fair which runs programs in Creole, Spanish and English. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan, and with Paula Mazur, founded The Mazur Kaplan Company, a production company bringing books to the screen. Their most recent film, Let Him Go, adapted from Larry Watson’s novel of the same name, will soon be released and stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner.
Fernand Amandi principal at Bendixen & Amandi International, manages the firm and brings over twenty years worth of experience in research, communications and strategic management for clients including the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Univision Communications, New America Media, the White House, the John & James L. Knight Foundation, the California Endowment, AT&T, Airbnb and Bloomberg Philanthropies. A veteran of five U.S. presidential campaigns, he’s a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNN, National Public Radio and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. Since 2017, Mr. Amandi has hosted the internationally acclaimed podcast, Strange Days with Fernand Amandi.