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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.

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Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky is an acclaimed poet, translator, and essayist whom The New York Times has called “our finest living specimen of this sadly rare breed.” He has spoken of poetry as “one of the most fundamental pleasures a person can experience,” and as U.S. Poet Laureate from 19...

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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 h...

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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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Joy Williams

Joy Williams is the influential author of dozens of short stories and essays, which are collected in Taking Care (1982), Escapes (1990), Honored Guest (2004), and Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award f...

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Colm Tóibín

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín discusses Elizabeth Bishop and Thom Gunn. It is part of their achievement as poets, he argues, that 'Bishop and Gunn, in a confessional age, masked their grief with reason.' Includes close readings of Bishop's 'One Art,' 'Poem,' and 'North Haven' and Gunn's 'In Santa Mar...

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Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth’s body of work is marked by scrupulous historical research and compelling narratives. In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Unsworth discusses the impulses, instincts, and concerns that drive his fascination with history. The often intimate discussion sugges...

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Harvey Shapiro

The late Harvey Shapiro reads a selection of his poems as well as work by Richard Wilbur and Yiddish writer Joseph Rolnik. Shapiro discusses the impact of World War II on the ‘class of 1924’ and talks about his mentors Charles Reznikoff, Louis Zukofsky, and George Oppen.

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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...

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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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-...

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Molly O'Neill

Molly O'Neill is the former food columnist for The New York Times Magazine and was the host of the PBS series Great Food. She is the author, most recently, of One Big Table, a portrait of America and its cooks told through more 600 regional recipes; and the editor of the L...

KWLS - Day One Morning--9

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb reads his essay, “A Case of Joni,” in which Joni Mitchell’s song “The Magdalene Laundries” is used as an entry point into a discussion on the complexities of compassion. Lamb also explores his path to becoming a writer and his work teaching at a women’s prison in Connecticut.

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