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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

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma Iweala reads from his critically acclaimed debut novel Beasts of No Nation, which tells the story of Agu, a child soldier fighting in a civil war in an unnamed west African country. In this section we are introduced to Agu, his friend Strika, Luftenant, and Commandante, as Agu kills for the...

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Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie is the Edgar Allan Poe Chair of the University of Virginia’s Department of English and Creative Writing. A short story writer and a novelist, she has received critical acclaim for her body of work and has been called “one of our era’s most vital masters of the short for...

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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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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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Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey reads a selection of poems including “Limen,” “Genus Narcissus,” “Myth,” “Miscegenation,” “Taxonomy,” and “Knowledge: After a Chalk Drawing by J.H. Hasselhorst, 1864.”

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John Ashbery

John Ashbery reads from Chinese Whispers (2002), his twenty-fourth book of poems. Along the way, he discusses the poems’ references to Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, Arthur Rimbaud, and other titans of French music, art, and literature. The reading, from the 2003 Key West Literary Seminar: The Be...

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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Richard Wilbur

The 1993 Key West Literary Seminar was devoted entirely to Elizabeth Bishop. A series of readings-in-tribute offered her fellow poets the opportunity to discuss Bishop and her influence. In this recording from the event, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Wilbur reads Bishop’s “Littl...

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Billy Collins

This recording of Billy Collins was made in January of 2003, during his second term as U.S. Poet Laureate. He reads a selection of poems, including "Shoveling Snow With Buddha," "Monday," "Flock," "Creatures," "The Lanyard," "The Country," "Surprise," "No Time," "Love," "Sonnet," "Japan," "Forgetful...

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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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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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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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