MADELEINE BLAIS (Moderator), a professor of Journalism at the University in Amherst, has been teaching a course in memoir writing for over a dozen years, long before memoir became the genre of the hour. Before that, she worked for eight years as a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for “Tropic” Magazine of the Miami Herald, specializing in stories about people walking the edge, curiously undeterred. She has written for many newspapers including The Boston Globe, the Washington Post and The New York Times. Her visit to Key West in 1979 was to interview Tennessee Williams, and the island soon became one of her favorite places in the world. She is the author of a collection of essays entitled The Heart is an Instrument (a phrase borrowed from Williams) and In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle (a phrase borrowed from Emily Dickinson), about a championship season in a girls high school basketball team. This book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in the category of nonfiction. She is currently at work on Uphill Walkers: Biography of a Family.
Blais lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with her two children and her husband, the writer John Katzenbach. This is her second appearance with the Key West Literary Seminar as a participant (she was a moderator for the Journalism Seminar), and when she is not presiding at some official function you can find her either bonefishing, paragliding or balancing a chair off the end of her nose on Mallory Dock at sunset.
- The Heart is an Instrument
- In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle