Gold Medal Winner for General Fiction - Florida Book Awards

Cigar City

Paul Wilborn

Cigar City 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. The Ybor scene drew international artists like James Rosenquist and mirrored what was happening in New York’s East Village.

The stories are fictional but they capture the spirit of the district during the 1980s. The collection is illustrated with photos, posters, and graphic images from the era.


Meet the Author

Paul Wilborn St Pete Press
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Paul Wilborn

As a journalist, Paul Wilborn has won 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.

Wilborn is the Executive Director of the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College and lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, the film actor Eugenie Bondurant.

“Wilborn, whose heritage is in Ybor City, creates his own legacy there — fictionalized, but based on Cigar City as he lived it. As the best narrative writers do, he vividly evokes a time, a place and, crucially, a wild cast of characters who bring that world intensely to life, on the page and in the reader’s imagination. Highly recommended.”

"Highly Recommended"

John Capouya – Author of Florida Soul and Gorgeous George

"Paul Wilborn IS the Poet of Ybor City..."

Roy Peter Clark – Author of Writing Tools


In a short Story titled ‘Ground Zero,’ Paul Wilborn begins “I killed the street poet of Ybor.” But he lies. This collection proves Paul Wilborn IS the Poet of Ybor City…”

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