Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is a commentator on Weekend Edition Sunday. An eighth-generation Floridian, she is Professor of English at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where she pulls weeds in the spring and attends FSU football games in the fall. She went to Oxford University courtesy of a Marshall Scholarship in 1980 and earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and a doctorate in American literature.

She is the author of three books, including Dream State (Free Press, 2004), a history of Florida through her strange and varied family. Roberts' kinfolk include Civil War soldiers, moonshiners, plantation owners, bus drivers, swamp lawyers and party fixers. Her cousin Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward wanted to drain the Everglades, and her cousin Clayton Roberts was director of the division of elections during the presidential vote recount imbroglio of 2000.

Roberts' previous two books -- Faulkner and Southern Womanhood (University of Georgia Press, 1993) and The Myth of Aunt Jemima (Routledge, 1994) -- are explorations of Southern culture, a subject she taught at the University of Alabama. She is also a journalist, writing op-ed pieces for The New York Times, The New Republic, and The Times of London. She is a political columnist for The St. Petersburg Times in Florida and makes documentaries for BBC Radio in London, where she also spends part of the year.

Roberts is so peripatetic that she cannot give an accurate count of the pairs of shoes she owns, but she knows it's at least three dozen, spread out across two continents. She has been a commentator for NPR since 1993, starting out at Weekend All Things Considered then moving to Weekend Edition Sunday in 1996. She would like everyone to know that the weather in Florida is actually terrible: hurricanes, thunderstorms, and sometimes even snow and ice -- at least up in Tallahassee.

8:00am

Sun August 7, 2011
Commentary

Manatee Scars Come From A Fight They Can't Win

Spot a manatee, the friendly, charming and prehistoric marine animal common in Florida's waters, and you're likely to think they're constantly besieged by sharks or other toothy killers. Many bear heavy scars and other marks of attack. But, as essayist Diane Roberts writes, manatees have no natural predators. What's attacking them? Boat propellers.