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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: Shuffle

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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.

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Pico Iyer

Iyer delivered the annual John Hersey Memorial Address that kicked off the 2006 Seminar on The Literature of Adventure, Travel, and Discovery. The talk, preserved on this recording and entitled "A New Kind of Travel for a New Kind of World: Stillness and Movement on a Fast-Turning Globe" is a dazzli...

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Manuel Muñoz

Elisabeth Scharlatt, publisher of Algonquin Books, and Manuel Muñoz, author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, discuss the hurdles and biases Muñoz encountered along his way to publication. Muñoz’s roots in California’s Central Valley and his concern with voicing the stories of the ...

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Silas House

Silas House reads from his in-progress novel, Yvonna Darling, “about a woman who kidnaps her own child after custody is unfairly taken away from her.” Ominously full of the slow summer sounds of cicadas, willow trees, and the song of a whippoorwill, this desperate passage is brought to v...

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Steve Stern

Steve Stern spoke at the 2007 Seminar on January 14th, on the topic of “Memories of Amnesia: Jewish Folklore and the Mystery of Identity.” In Stern’s hands this was a funnier topic than the title might lead you to believe; he had them rolling in the aisles, leading one attendee to ...

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Daniel Menaker

In a seminar devoted to New Voices, an interesting perspective was that belonging to Daniel Menaker, who for many years was a fiction editor at The New Yorker. His job was to find those new voices. He spoke warmly and knowledgeably about the challenge for fiction writers: “You must create an a...

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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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Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson reads two long poems, “The Mute Story of November” and “The Halo Over the Hospital,” from her book Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007). In a brief introduction, Nelson gives credit for the title of her book to Annie Dillard, whose essay “...

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Charles Simic

Current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic reads and comments upon his poems “White Room,” “Mirrors at 4 a.m.,” and “The Friends of Heraclitus.” From the 2003 Key West Literary Seminar. From KWLS 2003: The Beautiful Changes This recording is available for noncommerc...

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Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel was the winner of the Key West Literary Seminar’s Marianne Russo Scholarship for 2009. She subsequently signed a two-book contract with Grove/Atlantic, which will publish Vida, a collection of short stories, in 2010. Engel’s short story “Madre Patria,” workshop...

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Julia Reed

Julia Reed is a contributing editor at Newsweek and a native of Greenville, Mississippi. In this rollicking talk from the 2011 Seminar, Reed discusses facets of Southern life including disproportionate rates of murder and churchgoing; Mississippi’s repeal of Prohibition, 33 years behind t...

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Richard Wilbur

In this recording from the 2003 Seminar, Wilbur reads and comments upon numerous poems, translations, lyrics, and light verse spanning his career. Wilbur begins the reading with two poems, "The Reader" and "Man Running," from the then-unpublished Collected Poems, 1943-2004, and continues wi...

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