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Patrick Symmes

29th annual Key West Literary Seminar

—The Hungry Muse: An Exploration of Food in Literature—

January 6 - 16, 2011

Patrick Symmes is a journalist whose work focuses on Latin America, particularly Cuba, and is the author of two books: Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend, and The Boys from Dolores: Fidel Castro’s Schoolmates from Revolution to Exile, which madeThe New York Times “Ten Best Books” list for 2007.

Symmes has survived some malicious meals and scant rations while covering guerrilla conflicts from Afghanistan to Columbia for Harper’s andOutside magazines. Over the same years, he wrote for Condé Nast Travelerabout cooking schools in Italy, Peru, and Los Angeles. These two skill sets– crème brûleé torch and Revolutionary sloganeering– finally overlapped in Havana when Symmes tried to survive a month on the same salary and food ration given to Cubans. The resulting Harper’s article, “30 Days as a Cuban,” tells how he lost 11 pounds in Cuba, and spent $15.08 in a month, including transport.

Symmes is also a regular contributor to Newsweek, and has also published articles in GQWired, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Online Resources:

Patrick Symmes’s website
“30 Days as a Cuban” (requires subscription)

Selected Bibliography:

The Boys from Dolores (Pantheon 2007)

Chasing Che (Vintage 2000)

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