event coverage

L I T T O R A L : the journal of the Key West Literary Seminar

Danticat, Dennis-Benn & Walcott-Hackshaw “Unpack Paradise”

By Ruby Blackerby Hernandez "So I'm apparently from a shit hole country," Edwidge Danticat announced in her opening remarks to Friday morning's panel, "Unpacking Paradise: Writing Honestly About People and Place." This sharp observation, a reference to President Trump's recent vulgarities about Haiti, underscored the surreal timing of this year's Key West ...Read More

Jamaica Kincaid Considers the Question of Cultural Appropriation

By Sarah Thomas Thursday evening, Jamaica Kincaid took the stage to deliver the John Hersey Memorial Address for the 36th annual Key West Literary Seminar: “Writers of the Caribbean.” Seminar president Diane Shelby welcomed guests and introduced the weekend in the spirit of “sharing the words of homelands that are not our ...Read More

Day Three in Pictures

Featuring: Brenda Wineapple, Stephen L. Carter, Garrett Epps, Ann Beattie, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf & George Saunders.

Day Two in Pictures

Featuring: Teju Cole, Joe Klein, Thomas Mallon, Curtis Sittenfeld, Billy Collins, Deborah Eisenberg, Rachel Kushner, Cynthia Crossen, Joyce Carol Oates, Jane Mayer, George Saunders and Daniel Menaker.

Day One in Pictures

Photos from opening day registration and Robert A. Caro’s keynote address: “Revealing Power: When Lyndon Johnson asked, ‘What the Hell’s the Presidency for?'”

George Saunders at Key West High School

While the seminar convened at the San Carlos for Teju Cole’s talk on “Power and Subjectivity,” a few miles away another audience gathered at Key West High School, where George Saunders spoke about “writing as a form of power” and “making yourself real.” To an audience comprised mainly of juniors …Read More

A Book of American Martyrs: A Reading by Joyce Carol Oates

For her turn on power, Joyce Carol Oates read an excerpt from her latest novel, A Book of American Martyrs. She prefaced the reading by describing the political potential among literary forms most familiar to her: Poetry being an inner monologue, short stories having the flexibility to provide a slice of life …Read More

Billy Collins on Politics, Poetry, and War

“I’m not a political poet,” asserts Billy Collins as he begins to usher the KWLS audience through an exploration of political poetry. He follows with a funny anecdote about his time as Poet Laureate, when a child asked him what his place in line was to be president. There are …Read More