Coverage of the 2009 Seminar: "Historical Fiction and the Search for Truth"

John Hersey Memorial Address: Geraldine Brooks (First Session) & Barry Unsworth (Second Session)
Presenters: Chantel Acevedo, Calvin Baker, Russell Banks, Andrea Barrett, Madison Smartt Bell, Geraldine Brooks, Alan Cheuse, Peter Ho Davies, Eric Foner, Elizabeth Gaffney, Francisco Goldman, Allan Gurganus, Ursula Hegi, Samantha Hunt, Jane Kamensky, William Kennedy, Rachel Kushner, Jill Lepore, David Levering Lewis, Thomas Mallon, Megan Marshall, Valerie Martin, Peter Matthiessen, Ivy Meeropol, Michael Meeropol, Anchee Min, Mary Morris, David Nasaw, Sena Jeter Naslund, Patricia O’Toole, Joyce Carol Oates, Marilynne Robinson, John Burnham Schwartz, Barry Unsworth, Gore Vidal, Hilma Wolitzer, and John Wray. Writers’ Workshop Faculty: Alan Cheuse, Billy Collins, Edward Hower, Alison Lurie, Mary Morris, Bich Minh Nguyen, Patricia O’Toole, Porter Shreve, Dara Wier, and Hilma Wolitzer.

The stage setup for the 27th Annual KWLS. Photo by Curt Richter.

"Historians and Novelists: What's Your Take?" with Barry Unsworth, Peter Ho Davies, Sena Jeter Naslund, Megan Marshall, moderator Michael Meeropol and Patricia O'Toole. Photo by Curt Richter.

The crowd at the 27th Annual KWLS. Photo by Curt Richter.

KWLS Executive Director Miles Frieden. Photo by Curt Richter.

Photographer Curt Richter signing his book, "A Portrait of Southern Writers".

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William Kennedy reading from "Roscoe" during "Imagining a real-life place called Albany". Photo by Curt Richter.

Novelist Geraldine Brooks during her reading from "March". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

A coffee break during the 27th Annual KWLS. Photo by Curt Richter.

"Who Owns History?: Rethinking and Re-Imagining the Past in a Changing World" with Eric Foner. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

"Writer Against the Grain: An Interview and Conversation with Gore Vidal" moderated by Jay Parini.

Gore Vidal interviewed by Jay Parini during the panel, "Writer Against the Grain".

"Writer Against the Grain: An Interview and Conversation with Gore Vidal" moderated by Jay Parini.

"Literature as a Point of Departure" with authors Sena Jeter Naslund and Geraldine Brooks. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins during a reading at The Studios. Photo by Curt Richter.

Novelists Calvin Baker and Andrea Barrett during a reception. Photo by Curt Richter.

"Taking Liberty-Fiction and the Archives" with authors Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

"A Pack of Lies" panel with Ivy Meeropol, Michael Meeropol, and moderator David L. Lewis. (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

Author Michael Meeropol. (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

Author Peter Ho Davies reads from "The Welsh Girl". (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

Author Barry Unsworth reads from "Land of Marvels". (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

"The Fictional Imagination: Bending the Truth" panel with Samantha Hunt, Elizabeth Gaffney, Calvin Baker, Andrea Barrett and moderator Alan Cheuse. (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

"The Historian Imagination: The Historian as Storyteller" with David Nasaw. (photo: Nick Vagnoni)

Authors Elizabeth Gaffney and Calvin Baker.

Author Marilynne Robinson reads from "Gilead". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Thomas Mallon reads from "Fellow Travelers". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Anchee Min with daughter Lauryann Jiang during the panel, "Empress Orchid and Women of Red Detachment". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

The daughter of author Anchee Min, Lauryann Jiang, during her mother's panel.

Author Madison Smartt Bell during his panel, "The Relation of Fiction to Fact in Historical Fiction". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Samantha Hunt during her panel, "Nikola Tesla and the Invention of Everything Else". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Authors Andrea Barrett and Samantha Hunt during their panel, "Science and History". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Andrea Barrett reads from "Ship Fever". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Chantel Acevedo reads from "Love and Ghost Letters". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Authors Rachel Kushner and Chantel Acevedo during their panel, "Recreating Cuba's Past". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Rachel Kushner reads from "Telex from Cuba". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

The panel, "Our Place in Historical Fiction" with William Kennedy, Russell Banks and Joyce Carol Oates. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Russell Banks reads from "Cloudsplitter". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Author Francisco Goldman reads from "José Martí: The Divine Husband". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Novelist Joyce Carol Oates during her reading, "Wild Nights!". Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Novelist Gore Vidal during a reception. Photo by Nick Vagnoni.

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William Kennedy at a reception. Photo by Curt Richter.

David Wolkowsky at a reception. Photo by Curt Richter.

Novelist Madison Smartt Bell with KWLS Executive Director Miles Frieden. Photo by Curt Richter.

KWLS Executive Director Miles Frieden, KWLS board president Lynn Kaufelt and KWLS board member and author Judy Blume. Photo by Curt Richter.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Barry Unsworth, Conjurer of Lost Worlds

Barry Unsworth, who explored the ethical complexities of humankind in novels distinguished by scrupulous historical research and compelling narratives, died on Tuesday in Italy, where he had lived with his wife, Aira, for many years. He was 81. We interviewed Unsworth in 2008 and had the pleasure of his and …Read More


One more look at the 27th KWLS

The San Carlos Institute panorama. Photo by Curt Richter. As we unpack the boxes, the discs, the jump drives, and the emails from our 27th Key West Literary Seminar– Historical Fiction and the Search for Truth– we’ve uncovered this fine collection of pictures and quotes (thanks, Nan Klingener). Visit our …Read More


Friday Night Writers’ Party

For the writers who join us each January, one of the highlights is the Friday night writers’ party. Seward and Joyce Johnson hosted this one at their southernmost home. Photos by Curt Richter Thomas Mallon and Phyllis Rose Calvin Baker and Andrea Barrett Barry Unsworth and Lily Prigioniero William Kennedy


Photos from Session One

Here’s a selection of photos from Session One of the 27th annual Key West Literary Seminar. See more– by photographers Curt Richter, Oliver Parini, Michael Blades, and Nick Vagnoni– and upload your own photos on our facebook page. Gore Vidal and Jay Parini onstage for the John Malcolm Brinnin Memorial …Read More


In the Shadows of Edgar Watson

Photo of Peter Matthiessen onstage at the Key West Literary Semianr by Michael Blades. Story by Nan Klingener. Peter Matthiessen, winner of the 2008 National Book Award for fiction, returned to the Seminar with a talk and reading about Shadow Country, the novel that reworks the story he told in …Read More


Why Bother with the Past?

Photo of Barry Unsworth by Nick Vagnoni. Story by Nan Klingener. Barry Unsworth made it worth getting out of bed Sunday morning with an illuminating talk explaining why and how he writes historical fiction, and why we read it. The talk was titled “Why Bother With the Past?” “We haven’t …Read More


Not entirely random quotes from Session 1

Thanks again for the following to board member Nancy Klingener. Photo by Curt Richter. “The line between historical fiction and historical scholarship is not as hard and fast as we might think.” –Eric Foner, Columbia history professor “History is not and should not aspire to be a science.” –Eric Foner …Read More


Gore Vidal in Key West

Thanks to Greg Needham for permission to reprint the following from his blog. Greg’s agency, Needham Fatica, designed our site. Gore Vidal spoke in Key West last night and it was a magnificent event. He was here for the 27th Annual Key West Literary Seminar and he packed the house. …Read More


History’s reason needs fiction’s dreams

Allan Gurganus delivered a talk Friday morning called “A Still Small Voice Under the Cannonade: Field Notes toward Fiction’s Pact with History.” Photo by Nick Vagnoni. Thanks to [Nancy Klingener](http://boneislandbooks.wordpress.com/) for the following Allan Gurganus’s talk Friday morning was part literary lecture, part stand-up routine. Sources cited included Homer, John …Read More


Onstage at the San Carlos

The view from the balcony of this year’s set, designed by Michael Boyer, working with portrait painter Elenora Hinds. Thanks to [Michael Blades](http://michaelandkathy.blogspot.com/) for the photo.


Geraldine Brooks delivers Keynote Address

We’ve asked some friends and family to help post to Littoral for the next week and a half while the Seminar is underway. Here’s the first, from Nancy Klingener, a member of our board of directors and creator of the Bone Island Book Blog. –ed. Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer …Read More


A Party at the Tennessee Williams House

The 27th annual Key West Literary Seminar is underway. We got things rolling Wednesday night with a small party for Gore Vidal on Duncan Street, at the former home of Tennessee Williams. Here’s a few pictures; you can find more or upload your own on our facebook page. Gore Vidal …Read More


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