From Appalachia to the Caribbean: Writing Toward a Cultural Connection at KWLS

My husband and I are on a plane to Key West, where I am participating in this year’s Key West Literary Seminar as a Teacher and Librarian Scholarship winner. The theme is “Writers of the Caribbean,” and we will be joined by writers like Jamaica Kincaid (born in Antigua), Edwidge Danticat (Haiti), and Marlon James (Jamaica.)

I went to Key West with the understanding that I was learning and thinking from a position of white privilege, having grown up in a culture seemingly far-removed from those represented in the literature of this seminar. But I was also seeking a connection-however tenuous-between my rural Appalachian culture and theirs. Later, I realized that very connection may be the question of appropriation, and whether it can be both theft and tribute.

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Announcing the 2018 Emerging Writer Award Winners

We are thrilled to announce the 2018 winners of the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award, the Marianne Russo Award, and the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award.

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2018 Teacher & Librarian Scholarship Winners

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2017 Teacher and Librarian Scholarships!

Each year we recognize a diverse group of individuals who are making a positive impact upon readers in their communities. We hope that participation in our literary community will inspire fresh engagement with literature in schools and libraries around the country.

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KWLS Alumni Newsletter Volume 1

You’ve been busy. We have too. Over here at Key West Literary Seminar, we’re up to our necks in scholarship and award applications, writers-in-residence are coming and going, and we’re developing the Young Writers Studio for local high-school students, which will begin in 2018. (Those are our official excuses for…


Doug Mack looks back

It was 2006; the seminar topic was “The Literature of Adventure, Travel, and Discovery.” I was twenty-four and an avid reader of travel writing.


Now accepting scholarship applications!

We are now accepting applications for our three main funding opportunities. Apply now for Teacher and Librarian Scholarships, Emerging Writer Awards, and Workshop Financial Aid.


Schedule Announced for “Shorts”

Opening night speakers, Hilton Als and Junot Díaz. Photos by Thea Goldberg and Nina Subin After almost two years of planning, the 34th annual Key West Literary Seminar—"Shorts: Stories, Essays, & Other Briefs"—is now just four weeks away. We are excited to unveil the complete schedule for one of the most eagerly anticipated ...Read More

2016 Awards to Jacks, Scarpa, Stephens

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Emerging Writer Awards. The overall quality of the hundreds of submissions we received before this year's deadline is testament to the fact that we live in a vibrant time, and in a world that is animated, informed, and documented by ...Read More

2016 Teacher & Librarian Scholarships Announced

Teachers and librarians are the vanguard of literary culture. Each day they welcome new members to the community of readers, curate resources that reveal the histories of our cities and families, foster discussions about important literary works, and encourage the development of new voices in American literature. We recognize a …Read More