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John Banville & Benjamin Black

“We have this illusion that we are unitary beings. We have the notion that there is a pilot light inside us that is one’s self. I don’t believe this is the case. We’re a collection of poses, of attitudes, of versions of ourselves. We make ourselves up as we go along. This is what makes life interesting.”

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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...

Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley

As part of a panel discussion in 2003, we asked Robert Creeley to read and comment upon one of his favorite poems. It was no surprise when he selected a poem by his great friend and comrade, Charles Olson. Creeley reads passages from his introduction to Olson’s Selected Poems, and reads the la...

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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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...

Mark Doty

Mark Doty

In this recording from the 2008 Seminar, National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty reads a selection of work inspired by a previous visit to Key West in 1997, including a section from his 2007 memoir Dog Years, and the poems "Sea Grape Valentine," "Watermelon Soda," and "Catalina Macaw."....

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Mark Doty

Mark Doty is the author of eight books of poems and four volumes of nonfiction prose. He has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and his Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems won the 2008 National Book Award in poetry. Doty was the keynote speaker at ...

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Rita Dove

As a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove is among the most accomplished and recognizable poets of our time. Her collections of poetry include Thomas and Beulah, American Smooth, and, most recently, Sonata Mulattica, an ambitious and fascinating poetic recre...

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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 ...

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Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel was the winner of the Key West Literary Seminar’s Marianne Russo Scholarship for 2009. She subsequently signed a two-book contract with Grove/Atlantic, which will publish Vida, a collection of short stories, in 2010. Engel’s short story “Madre Patria,” workshop...

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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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Bruce Jay Friedman

At the 2005 Seminar on Humor, Bruce Jay Friedman read his short story “A Change of Plan”, originally published in Esquire. Friedman talked about how the story made the journey to the screen with the 1972  Elaine May-helmed The Heartbreak Kid (just remade starring Ben Stiller). It’...

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Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander is the author of several collections of poetry, essays, and the novel As a Friend, published by New Directions in 2008. He has translated the works of several Latin American poets including Coral Bracho and Pura Lopez-Colome, and is the editor and co-translator with Kent Johnson of tw...

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