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Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson

Pulitzer Prize-winner Marilynne Robinson delivers a lecture on the notion of grace, “a word without synonyms, a concept without paraphrase.” From the current state of the publishing industry to her work in academia, Robinson presents a series of thought-provoking contrasts and illuminations.


Phyllis Rose

Phyllis Rose explores our fascination with writers' lives, while uncovering the dueling impulses of biography and critical theory. 'Writing is done in private and involves a descent into the self,' she says. 'This struggle for truth and precision is so specialized, so private, so word-dependent, tha...


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...

James Merrill

James Merrill

This 1993 reading in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop reveals James Merrill’s significant gifts as a reader and interpreter of Bishop’s work, and suggests the depths of the influence he felt from the poet who “set standards for me as no other contemporary did.”


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...


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.


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...

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...


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.

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...


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...

Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik is an award-winning American journalist best-known for his work at The New Yorker. The former art critic of the magazine, Gopnik's work encompasses an incredibly broad range of cultural topics and figures. In recent years he has often written about food, the subject of his newes...


Nicole Mones

Nicole Mones is an acclaimed novelist whose works draw from her experiences in China, where she began a successful textile trading business in 1977. Her books, including A Cup of Light, Lost in Translation, and The Last Chinese Chef, frequently explore Chinese culture thro...

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