2017 Seminar Panelists

  • Ann Beattie
  • Robert Caro
  • Stephen L. Carter
  • Teju Cole
  • Gail Collins
  • Billy Collins
  • Deborah Eisenberg
  • Garrett Epps
  • Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Joe Klein
  • Rachel Kushner
  • Thomas Mallon
  • Jane Mayer
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Peter S. Onuf
  • George Saunders
  • Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Calvin Trillin
  • Brenda Wineapple

Day Three in Pictures

Featuring: Brenda Wineapple, Stephen L. Carter, Garrett Epps, Ann Beattie, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf & George Saunders.


Day Two in Pictures

Featuring: Teju Cole, Joe Klein, Thomas Mallon, Curtis Sittenfeld, Billy Collins, Deborah Eisenberg, Rachel Kushner, Cynthia Crossen, Joyce Carol Oates, Jane Mayer, George Saunders and Daniel Menaker.


Day One in Pictures

Photos from opening day registration and Robert A. Caro’s keynote address: “Revealing Power: When Lyndon Johnson asked, ‘What the Hell’s the Presidency for?'”


George Saunders at Key West High School

While the seminar convened at the San Carlos for Teju Cole’s talk on “Power and Subjectivity,” a few miles away another audience gathered at Key West High School, where George Saunders spoke about “writing as a form of power” and “making yourself real.” To an audience comprised mainly of juniors …Read More


A Book of American Martyrs: A Reading by Joyce Carol Oates

For her turn on power, Joyce Carol Oates read an excerpt from her latest novel, A Book of American Martyrs. She prefaced the reading by describing the political potential among literary forms most familiar to her: Poetry being an inner monologue, short stories having the flexibility to provide a slice of life …Read More


Billy Collins on Politics, Poetry, and War

“I’m not a political poet,” asserts Billy Collins as he begins to usher the KWLS audience through an exploration of political poetry. He follows with a funny anecdote about his time as Poet Laureate, when a child asked him what his place in line was to be president. There are …Read More


Teju Cole on Power and Subjectivity

Teju Cole began his talk on Friday morning, “Power and Subjectivity,” with a disclaimer about racism. It is not about being rude, nor a lapse in manners, but is rather “an expression of systemic power” that, paradoxically, is experienced in subjective ways. To further elucidate this paradox, Cole took us …Read More


VIDEO: Robert A. Caro’s Keynote Address

To open the thirty-fifth annual Key West Literary Seminar last night, two-time Pulitzer winner Robert Caro delivered the John Hersey Memorial Address to a standing-room only audience at the historic San Carlos Institute. His keynote "Revealing Power: When Lyndon Johnson asked, 'What the Hell's the Presidency for?'" went right to ...Read More

35th Key West Literary Seminar is Underway

The 35th annual Key West Literary Seminar—“Revealing Power: The Literature of Politics”—is set to begin in just a few minutes at the San Carlos Institute with the John Hersey Memorial Address by Robert A. Caro. We’ll be posting video of Caro’s keynote here tomorrow morning, along with a stream of …Read More


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