Each year the Key West Literary Seminar explores the world of literature through a particular unifying theme. For our 31st annual seminar, “Writers on Writers,” we investigate the rich and varied lives of those who make this formidable craft their life; and, in doing so, we explore the work of writing itself.
“Writers on Writers” will be an exploration of some of the world’s most enduring authors and an investigation of the relationship between life and literature. As we turn the lens on the contemporary writers on stage, we will also explore the creative act of recreating a life, and consider how an engagement with great writers of the past affects the literature of today.
The latest additions to our roster of panelists include Pico Iyer, Colm Tóibín, and Geoff Dyer. Iyer is an essayist and novelist whose newly-released The Man Within my Head explores his obsession with English author and playwright Graham Greene. Tóibín is an Irish novelist and short story writer whose acclaimed works include The Master, a novel based on the life of 19th-century American writer Henry James. Dyer is the author of four novels, two essay collections, and five genre-defying titles including Out of Sheer Rage, which may best be described as a book about trying to write a book about English novelist and poet D.H. Lawrence (comedian Steve Martin calls it “The funniest book I have ever read”).
Other confirmed panelists for “Writers on Writers” include James Atlas, founding editor of the Penguin Lives series of short biographies; Rosalind Brackenbury, author of Becoming George Sand; Jay Parini, whose novel about Leo Tolstoy was later adapted for the film The Last Station; Robert D. Richardson, acclaimed biographer of American transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau; Phyllis Rose, author of A Life of Virginia Woolf; Julie Salamon, author of the recent bestselling biography of American playwright Wendy Wasserstein, Wendy and the Lost Boys; Isak Dinesen biographer Judith Thurman; Edmund White, whose books include biographies of French writers Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud; and Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
We will name additional panelists in the coming weeks. Registration is open now and filling up fast. Writers’ workshops and scholarship opportunities will be announced in the spring.