2014 Seminar Panelists

  • Megan Abbott
  • John Banville
  • Alafair Burke
  • Stephen L. Carter
  • Lee Child
  • Billy Collins
  • Michael Connelly
  • Thomas H. Cook
  • Percival Everett
  • Lyndsay Faye
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Elizabeth George
  • Tess Gerritsen
  • William Gibson
  • James Gleick
  • Sara Gran
  • James W. Hall
  • Carl Hiaasen
  • Joseph Kanon
  • John Katzenbach
  • Michael Koryta
  • William Kent Krueger
  • Laura Lippman
  • Attica Locke
  • Mary Morris
  • Malla Nunn
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Sara Paretsky
  • Otto Penzler
  • John Sandford
  • Jonathan Santlofer
  • Alexander McCall Smith
  • Les Standiford
  • Scott Turow
  • Lisa Unger

The Real Lives of Writers

Alafair Burke, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and Michael Koryta came together yesterday afternoon to share behind-the-scenes revelations and anecdotes in “Real Life: What did you make out of yours?” Even the self-proclaimed introverts onstage opened up bravely to let curious KWLS attendees in on the magic and the mundane in their …Read More


John Banville & Benjamin Black: ‘Two Hats’

Friday evening’s John Malcolm Brinnin Memorial Event, entitled “Two Hats,” was coyly presented in the KWLS program as a “conversation” between John Banville and Benjamin Black, moderated by James Gleick. As Gleick noted after taking the stage, the audience would be forgiven for expecting three chairs where there were only …Read More


The Beauty and Grace of Language and Plot in Crime Fiction

On Friday afternoon John Banville, Thomas H. Cook, Elizabeth George, Sara Gran, and Mary Morris had a wide-ranging conversation entitled “The Beauty and Grace of Language and Plot in Crime Fiction.” Morris, who moderated the panel, opened with a quote from W.H. Auden, in which the poet describes the work …Read More


Word & Image: Final Chapter, Day 1 & 2

Elizabeth George: "I write about the dark to make sense of things. I look for answers to the whys of life in its most extreme moments." Photo by Nick Doll. John Banville, aka Benjamin Black: "There are just good books and books that are not so good. If I had ...Read More

Basic Instinct: Lee Child on Story’s Roots

When Lee Child’s daughter was a small child, she loved the appearance of danger, he told a packed house this morning at the San Carlos Institute during his address on the “Prehistoric Roots of Storytelling.” When he threw her up in the air, she would shriek in delight and terror. …Read More


Chapter One Audio Up; Final Chapter Begins

Three standout presentations from Chapter One of the 32nd annual Key West Literary Seminar are now available in our audio archives. In the laugh-out-loud “Florida Freak Show,” bestselling novelist and journalist Carl Hiaasen recounts his favorite Florida news items, including the suspicious disappearance of legendary Key West Fire Chief Joseph …Read More


Crime & Punishment in the Conch Republic

Despite heavy action this week as we turned from Chapter One to the Final Chapter of The Dark Side: Mystery, Crime, and the Literary Thriller, we found a few quiet moments to troll our favorite fishing hole for highlights of Key West crimes and punishments past. All images courtesy Monroe …Read More


Crime Fiction and the Literary Canon

On Saturday afternoon, James W. Hall, Les Standiford, and Jonathan Santlofer had a conversation entitled “Crime Fiction and the Literary Canon: Why everyone has forgotten that Crime & Punishment, An American Tragedy, and Lolita are crime fiction.” The three novelists, all professors of creative writing as well, sought to challenge …Read More


Shop Talk with Reporters-Turned-Novelists

Any reporter worth his or her salt knows the value of a strong quote. The flavor of a source’s voice, expressed accurately and with nuance, can be the key that makes a story come alive. In the colorful KWLS conversation “Once We Were Journalists: Truth & Fiction,” John Katzenbach, Laura Lippman, and …Read More


You can’t make this stuff up

Long before the Internet had Florida Man to catalog the misdeeds of men and women in the Sunshine State, there was Carl Hiaasen. At last night’s John Malcolm Brinnin Memorial Event, entitled “The Florida Freak Show,” Hiaasen gave us a hilarious retelling of some of the news stories that serve …Read More


Day Two of Chapter One: The Dark Side

Scott Turow: "Writers write. They don't sit in barrooms with other writers, they don't talk about what they're going to write. They write." Photo by Nick Doll. Gillian Flynn: "Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids." Photo by Nick Doll. Attica Locke: "Books teach us ...Read More

Sara Paretsky’s Keynote Quest for Heroes

People often ask writer Sara Paretsky if V. I. Warshawski, the female detective at the center of her #1 New York Times  bestselling mystery series, is her alter ego. Despite clear similarities between the two (both like to run and drink a good whiskey, live in Chicago, and work stubbornly …Read More


Images from Opening Night of The Dark Side

The podium awaits keynote speaker Sara Paretsky, whose address was entitled "My Quest for Heroes: Voice and Voicelessness." Set design by Cayman Smith-Martin. All photos by Nick Doll. The main auditorium of the historic San Carlos Institute as viewed from the balcony. Opening night brought a capacity crowd of avid ...Read More

The Dark Side of Key West

Key West, which sells itself as a sunny resort, is taking a detour into the Dark Side. Over the next two weekends, the Key West Literary Seminar will examine mystery, crime, and the literary thriller with a line-up that includes Gillian Flynn, Lee Child, Carl Hiaasen, Scott Turow, Alexander McCall …Read More


Darkness rushing in …

Last-minute preparations are underway for Chapter One of The Dark Side: Mystery, Crime, and the Literary Thriller. It all kicks off at the historic San Carlos Institute on Thursday night with Sara Paretsky’s keynote address, “My Quest for Heroes: Voice and Voicelessness.” The full schedule of events is here. All …Read More


Deadline Near for Emerging Writer Awards

Only two weeks remain to apply for our awards for emerging writers. Presented annually, the Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award, Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, and Marianne Russo Award recognize emerging writers of exceptional merit. Past winners include fiction writers Patricia Engel, Nami Mun, and Kristen-Paige Madonia; and poets George Green …Read More


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