Cigar City: Tales From a 1980s Creative Ghetto, is a collection of linked short stories about the young artists, writers, poets, musicians and actors who inhabited Tampa’s Ybor City in the 1980s. Drawn by urban authenticity and cheap rents, they created a surreal, chaotic arts scene set against the backdrop of the empty cigar factories and shotgun shacks of Tampa’s immigrant past. Ybor drew international artists like James Rosenquist, Jim Dine and dozens more, and mirrored what was happening in New York’s Alphabet City.
The stories are fictional but they capture the spirit of the district during the 1980s. The collection is illustrated with photos from the era by Bud Lee and David Audet.
Paul Wilborn was an integral part of the Ybor arts scene and a founding member of Ybor’s Artists and Writers Group. He was also among the founders of the annual Ybor celebration, Guavaween, along with dozens of other arts events.
An award-winning journalist, Cigar City is his first work of fiction.
About the Author
As a journalist, Paul Wilborn collected multiple awards from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. He won the Green Eyeshade Award from the Atlanta Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the South’s top writing prize. Based on a selection of his writing, Wilborn was chosen for the Paul Hansel Award, Florida’s top journalism prize. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.
His plays have been produced at Stageworks, Off-Center Theater, Radio Theater Project, and University of Michigan.
Cigar City is his debut short story collection. He is currently at work on two novels set in Florida, Trickle Down and Moonlight Bay.
Wilborn is executive director of the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College and lives in Saint Petersburg with his wife, the film actor Eugenie Bondurant.