Tennessee Williams on a Bicycle

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“I have been drinking too much coffee – about five times in week – will cut that out and will try to keep myself so active physically during the day that I will sleep from sheer exhaustion – Now I feel quieter – I hear the birds chirping and a …Read More


1993: Elizabeth Bishop

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The 1993 Seminar, our eleventh annual, was dedicated to the work of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). Among the panelists were John Malcolm Brinnin, Octavio Paz, Robert Giroux, James Merrill, and Richard Wilbur. In cooperation, The Key West Art & Historical Society put on the first-ever exhibition of Elizabeth Bishop’s paintings, curated by William Benton, who at that time was working on Exchanging Hats (1996). The exhibit of Bishop’s paintings also featured the photographs of Rollie McKenna, including several portraits of Bishop. In conjunction with the Seminar, Bishop’s former home at 624 White Street, was added to the national register of Literary Landmarks.


Men of Letters

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Image of Richard Wilbur, John Malcolm Brinnin, and Philip Burton, at the January 4 1993 dedication of Elizabeth Bishop’s former Key West home as a Literary Landmark.


Among the Archives

362 American author John Hersey (1914-1993) and noted theater critic Mel Gussow (1933-2005) at a Key West Literary Seminar party hosted by David Wolkowsky, circa 1986-1990. Photo by Jeffrey Cardenas. American poet, biographer, and critic John Malcolm Brinnin with Jean Trebbi, early Seminar organizer and honorary board member, at the same ...Read More

Thomas McGuane, 1984:
the Liz Lear interview

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Thomas McGuane’s Key West novels— Ninety-two in the Shade and Panama —are in a class of their own. They portray the volatile Key West of the 1970s, when a legion of do-it-yourself drug smugglers thrived and cocaine was plentiful, cheap, and, more or less, socially acceptable. McGuane’s heroes, Thomas Skelton …Read More


Did Gore Vidal father a Conch love-child?

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“Possibly,” he says, in this recent interview from The Independent. Will they re-unite this January, when Vidal joins us for Historical Fiction and The Search for Truth? It seems, well, unlikely: “There are rumours that you have a daughter from a relationship with a woman living in Key West, Florida …Read More


Update: A Day at the Beach

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We’ve now identified each of the writers in this photo, taken on Hidden Beach in 1984. Thanks to Liz Lear, Holly Merrill, and Don Kincaid for their help. Read the appended post here. Click here for a full-size version.


A Day at the Beach, 1984

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How many words is a picture worth if its subjects have penned more than many thousands of bestselling words apiece, already read by tens of thousands of readers? If in their beach bags are five Pulitzer Prizes, a few National Book Awards, two Bollingen Prizes, and office stationery from the U.S. Poet Laureate?