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Hilton Als & Junot Díaz

To open Shorts: Stories, Essays & Other Briefs, Junot Díaz and Hilton Als came together on the subject of “Baldwin’s Children, or, Our Bodies Long for (a) Home: Belonging, Exile, and Love in African Diaspora Letters.”

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Showing KWLS Audio Archives from: Shuffle

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Geoff Dyer

In an interview with Christopher Lydon, Geoff Dyer argues that literary greatness should not be measured by the novel, but by marginal genres like essays, letters, and travel writing. The pursuit of truth in literature will succeed only when you ‘remain absolutely faithful to the vagaries of your ...

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...

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Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), and, in far-ranging comments, addresses the danger inherent in a dominant authorial voice. “No matter how many ruses I use,” Díaz says, “I’m the only one speaking.R...

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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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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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Eric Foner

Eric Foner is one of America’s preeminent historians, especially known for his work on the post-Civil War period of Reconstruction. In this fascinating lecture from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Foner explores the social and political implications of historical inquiry, and the role of t...

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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-...

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.”

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Mark Strand

Mark Strand (1934-2014) was born on Canada’s Prince Edward Island and raised in the United States. He was the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, for which he was awarded the prestigious Bollingen and Pulitzer Prizes, among other honors. Strand also translated the works of Brazilian ...

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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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Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan was the sixteenth United States Poet Laureate, from 2008-2010. Her work has drawn comparisons to Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, and like these poets, Ryan’s masterfully concise poems fuse acute observation of the physical world with equally sharp introspection;...

Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz reads “Boyfriend,” a short story from his 1997 collection, Drown. I should’ve been careful with the weed. Most people it just fucks up. Me, it makes me sleepwalk. And wouldn’t you know I woke up in the hallway of our building feeling my head ...

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