Dorothy SmiljanichDorothy Smiljanich (BA 1969, MA 1972)

Dorothy Smiljanich is fond of the English program at UF for many reasons. For one, she met her husband, Terry, while both were undergrad English majors – and they’ve now been married for forty years. Gainesville is also where she began her successful career in journalism. After graduating with an MA in English, Dorothy got a job at the Gainesville Sun as a proofreader in the classified department, while Terry continued at UF’s law school. She soon parlayed her critical talent into a job writing film reviews for the Clearwater Sun in her home town of Clearwater, FL. From there, she went on to become the film and theater critic for the St. Petersburg Times, and then the theater critic for the Tampa Tribune. Eventually she became the Tribune’s travel editor, writing much about Florida, but also ranging as far as Jordan, China, Japan, and Costa Rica. The Smiljanichs currently live in Clearwater, though they have a cabin in Hawthorne, and visit Gainesville often.

Dorothy is an enthusiastic supporter of the annual Writers Festival put on by MFA@FLA. She has remained an active participant in UF’s vibrant literary community since her school days, when she saw visiting well-known writers such as W.H. Auden, and Allen Ginsberg. Though her writing these days tends to be nonfiction, she took undergrad and graduate classes from creative writing professors Smith Kirkpatrick and Harry Crews. Her most recent book, published in 2007, is the award-winning Then Sings My Soul: The Scott Kelly Story, about the charismatic candidate for Florida governor in the mid-60s. Kelly himself was a Gator, and played football at UF before going into politics and then on to a career as an influential real estate developer.