1990. If ever a year spoke greater optimism, I, only recently turned twelve, was unaware. The eighties were down, and the twentieth century was nearly out. Our promotional literature from that year displays a timely enthusiasm. A sloop sails counter to the prevailing winds betrayed by the bent coconut palm. The postcard, below, has fireworks. And that custom-cut font, running in every direction it can to get away from itself! In the program, David Kaufelt recounts how it all began:
Literary agent Dick Duane and I were schmoozing over Diet Cokes and white meat chicken sandwiches in a Manhattan hotel bar with Rosemary Jones of the Council for Florida Libraries. She was in New York to round up authors for the council’s annual lecture series. But New York publishers’ publicists were having none of it, fully convinced no one in Florida read, much less bought books.
I said we have so many writers of so many persuasions in Key West, we could have our own literary festival. There was a suden enlightened silence. We could. We should. And we would.