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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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Maxine Kumin

Maxine Kumin was born in 1925 and lives on a horse farm in rural New Hampshire. She has published sixteen collections of poetry as well as numerous books for children, four of which were co-written with the poet Anne Sexton. Kumin won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Up Country, and served as ...

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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...

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Wendy Wasserstein

Wendy Wasserstein was a Brooklyn-born playwright who achieved popular and critical acclaim on Broadway for works that chronicled the triumphs and travails of modern American women. Her plays included Uncommon Women and Others and The Heidi Chronicles, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Samantha Hunt

Samantha Hunt is the author of The Invention of Everything Else, which has been shortlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction. In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Hunt discusses the subject of her historical novel, Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, whose revolutionary inventi...

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Discussion: Rosenblatt & Trudeau

Garry Trudeau and Roger Rosenblatt had been travelling together for two days when they sat down to have their scheduled conversation at the 2005 Seminar, and Trudeau kicks it off by asserting that they’re all talked out. They weren’t. The consensus was that these two should start a talk ...

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Conversation: Atwood & Cunningham

On January 14th, 2007 Margaret Atwood and Michael Cunningham sat down on the Key West Literary Seminar stage for a conversation on the topic of “Speculative Fiction and the Art of Subversion” From KWLS 2007: Wondrous Strange This recording is available for noncommercial and educational u...

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Billy Collins

This recording from the 2010 Key West Literary Seminar features Collins delivering a lecture and reading entitled "Dear Reader." "I think of the poem as a social encounter," says Collins, one equally dependent upon both reader and writer, for "the poem is completed in the mind of the reader." He quo...

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin is the author of three collections of short fiction, including The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories; several novels, including Tresspass and Mary Reilly, which was made into a movie with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich; and a nonfiction work about St. Francis of Assisi. In this rec...

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Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson reads two long poems, “The Mute Story of November” and “The Halo Over the Hospital,” from her book Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007). In a brief introduction, Nelson gives credit for the title of her book to Annie Dillard, whose essay “...

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Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield was born in New York City and graduated from Princeton University in 1973. She studied Zen for nearly eight years at the San Francisco Zen Center, and has taught at UC Berkeley, Duke University, and Bennington College. She is the author of six books of poetry, as well as the influent...

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Andrea Barrett

Andrea Barrett’s acclaimed novels and short-stories are marked by their investigation of scientific and historical themes. In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Barrett explains how she began to write about science and history in the short story form after the disappointme...

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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...

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