Lauren Groff and the cover of her new book, “Florida.”

Lauren Groff and the cover of her new book, “Florida.”


Kristin Kozelsky, Penguin Random House

Lauren Groff has spent more of her adult life living in Florida than anywhere else. She has written all of her books and short story collections from her home in Gainesville. Her husband is from there and her sons were born there.

And yet, she’s still surprised this is how her life turned out. “Becoming a Floridian was a really difficult transition for me,” she says. “I still, even now, 12 years later, wake up thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my life. I live in Florida.’”

Groff’s fifth book, “Florida,” is a short story collection built around the infectious physical nature of Florida. The stories share themes of insiderness and outsiderness, and of nature and domesticity.

“I thought about how I could put them together to create a larger argument about the country as a whole and about what it is to be a woman raising boys in this contemporary world.”

That Florida has become such a writerly inspiration was also a surprise to Groff.

“I never wanted to write about Florida,” she says. “But the thing is you don't actually get to choose what you write about.”

“Florida” was a 2018 National Book Award finalist.

(Originally aired June 14, 2018)

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