featured audio

More than five hundred unique presentations by the world’s most influential writers are available in our audio archive. The selected recordings featured here include a brief introduction, with biographical information about the speakers and a summary of the material. We encourage educators worldwide to use these unique resources and share them with your community of readers.


Joy Williams | 1989 | “The Last Generation”

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 for Criticism. She has also written four novels, including The Quick and the Dead (2000), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and State of Grace (1973), nominated for a National Book Award.

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Richard Wilbur | 2010

Richard Wilbur is among the singular poets of our time, the only living poet to have twice won the Pulitzer Prize, and a former Poet Laureate of the United States. In this recording from 2010, Wilbur reads more than two dozen poems and translations, many of which would be published by Harcourt that fall in …

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Jane Hirshfield: New Poems | 2010

ane 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 influential prose collection Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.

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Maxine Kumin | 2010

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 U.S. Poet Laureate from 1981-1982.

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Mark Strand | 2010

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 poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, edited poetry anthologies and collections of art criticism, and wrote three books for children.

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Barry Unsworth: Why Bother with the Past?

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 suggests that Unsworth’s chief aim as a novelist is to explore the ethical complexities of humankind as presented in the customs and sensibilities of distinct historical periods.

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Patricia Engel | “The Bridge”

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,” workshopped at KWLS 27 with Hilma Wolitzer, is forthcoming in Quarterly West, while “The Bridge,” which debuted at the Seminar, will appear in print in The Atlantic Monthly’s 2010 Fiction Issue.

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Barry Unsworth: The Economy of Truth

In this recording of the 2009 John Hersey Memorial address, Barry Unsworth outlines his thoughts on the nature of truth in works of fiction. On the one hand, argues Unsworth, the novelist must strive for accuracy in relating the historical facts of a period. On the other hand, “the writer of fiction should be seeking …

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