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John Banville & Benjamin Black

“We have this illusion that we are unitary beings. We have the notion that there is a pilot light inside us that is one’s self. I don’t believe this is the case. We’re a collection of poses, of attitudes, of versions of ourselves. We make ourselves up as we go along. This is what makes life interesting.”

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: 2012

Colson Whitehead at the Key West Literary Seminar

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is the acclaimed author of five books, including Zone One, a wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel in which zombies wander Manhattan. In this humorous talk from the 2012 seminar, Whitehead recalls early influences including Stephen King and Donna Summer, and his asp...

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Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 50 novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. In this recording from the 2012 seminar, Oates reads “San Quentin,” a short story based on her experience teaching English at San Quentin State Prison in the spring of 2011.

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem’s novels include Motherless Brooklyn and Chronic City and he is an authority on the works of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. At the 2012 seminar, he presented ‘The True and the Real,’ a ‘plate-spinning act’ exploring such disparate figures as writer Samuel D...

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China Miéville

British novelist China Miéville is a 3-time winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, given to the best science-fiction novel published in the U.K. Here he explores genre, 'the elephant in the room,' argues for its embrace as a useful taxonomy, and urges writers to aspire to the 'swagger' of hip-hop ar...

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Panel: Atwood, Gleick, Miéville, Oates

Acclaimed science and technology writer James Gleick leads Year of the Flood author Margaret Atwood, British novelist China Miéville, and American writer Joyce Carol Oates in a discussion of the tensions between the real and the unreal inherent in writing and reading works of fiction.

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Conversation: Coupland & Gibson

Douglas Coupland and William Gibson discuss technology, culture, and the craft of writing. Communications technologies are a "global memory prosthesis," says Gibson, and aspire to an experience in which distinctions between the "virtual" and the "real” are dissolved. "We are already the borg," Gib...

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George Saunders

George Saunders is a fiction writer and essayist noted for his acute sense of satire, outrageous humor, and keenly perceptive observations on contemporary life. In this talk, he recounts his coming of age as a writer and explains how he learned to stop aping his literary idols and begin making use o...

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