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David A. Kaufelt

“I have a theory why we all live here—it’s called the Peter Pan theory. Freud said we’re at our most creative before we’re five years old. That’s where we are here. We wear shorts, we ride bicycles, we have the water, a great symbol of the unconscious, and we’re free to be children here and let our spirits go.”

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: Shuffle

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Siri Hustvedt

On January 14th, 2007, Siri Hustvedt spoke on the topic of “A writer’s adventures in psychiatry and neuro-science.” It was a complex and bracing piece of writing and an intense talk. Hustvedt said afterwards that she was contemplating putting together a book of her essays on scienc...

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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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Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) was one of America’s most distinct voices for more than half a century. The author of more than 20 novels, hundreds of essays, and several plays for screen and stage, Vidal was perhaps best known for the eloquent and witheringly sarcastic political commentary that made h...

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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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Barry Unsworth

In this recording from the first session of the 2009 Seminar, Unsworth reads a passage from Land of Marvels, concerning Somerville, the British archeologist whose work on an ancient Assyrian site is threatened by a railroad being constructed by a German company, and Jehar, the financially-...

Kevin Young

Kevin Young

This 2008 reading features poet Kevin Young reading a selection of then-recent work, including “Aunties,” “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” “Black Cat Blues,” “Hang Dog Blues,” “Flash Flood Blues,” “Ode To The Hotel Near The Children...

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Lee Smith

Lee Smith gave the annual John Hersey Memorial Address to open the second session of the 2008 Seminar. In a talk that was both extremely funny and unexpectedly moving, Smith recounted her development as a writer when, as a young girl, she would write herself into Nancy Drew and Bobsie Twins adventur...

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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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Hannah Pittard

Hannah Pittard reads “The Year Helen Turned Forty-One,” at the 2008 Key West Literary Seminar: New Voices. It begins: The year Helen turned forty-one, she developed bronchitis and fell in love. He was tan, wore shorts in the winter, and had fantastically large calves. He rode a bicycle t...

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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...

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala reads from a nonfiction work-in-progress about people living with HIV/AIDS in northern Nigeria. Set in and around a rural hospital in northern Nigeria, the excerpt focuses on a young man named Ifanye, and his struggle with “the something” with which he is infected. From 2...

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Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky weaves together contemporary social and political issues as they relate to mystery and crime fiction. She asks “What is the role of the writer?” while warning of the dangers of self-censorship and government surveillance; and she reminds us that fiction reveals essential truths abo...

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