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Roberts to keynote First DCA celebration

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Roberts to keynote First DCA celebration

Diane Roberts — provocative and irreverent newspaper columnist and essayist, author, creative writing professor, National Public Radio commentator, and BBC Radio reviewer and documentary-maker — will be the keynote speaker at the July 12 dinner celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First District Court of Appeal.

Roberts, who calls herself a member of an endangered species — a native Floridian — traces her first Florida ancestor back eight generations to a Frenchman named Francois Brouard, who arrived in Spanish East Florida in 1799 because the King of Spain was giving away land for free. Other kinfolk include the late B.K. Roberts, Florida Supreme Court justice; cousin Gov. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, who wanted to drain the Everglades; and cousin Clayton Roberts, who was director of the division of elections during the Bush-Gore presidential vote recount of 2000.

It’s all chronicled in her strange and entertaining latest book, Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and other Florida Wildlife.

When lawyers and judges and other friends of the court gather to remember the history of the First DCA, Roberts will make the trip from her summer writing retreat in London to regale the audience with insightful commentary about the attacks on judicial independence.

Roberts, who grew up in Tallahassee, received her Ph.D from Oxford and her undergrad and master’s degrees from Florida State University, where she wrote a wickedly funny political column for the Flambeau, called “Das Kapital” under the byline D.K. Roberts,
and where she now teaches creative writing as a full professor in the English Department.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the First DCA on July 12 begins with a 4 p.m. ceremony at the court, followed by the dinner at 7 p.m. at the University Club at FSU. Reservations may be obtained by sending a check for $100 per person to 50th Anniversary Commemorative Committee, P.O. Box 10095, Tallahassee 32302. The deadline for reservations for the dinner is June 30.

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