Coverage of the 2018 Seminar: "Writers of the Caribbean"

John Hersey Memorial Address: Jamaica Kincaid
Presenters: André Alexis, Robert Antoni, Madison Smartt Bell, Teju Cole, Edwidge Danticat, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Brent Hayes Edwards, Jonathan Galassi, Ishion Hutchinson, Naomi Jackson, Marlon James, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Jamaica Kincaid, Anna Kushner, Kei Miller, Mirta Ojito, Leonardo Padura, Caryl Phillips, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Esmeralda Santiago, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, and Tiphanie Yanique.
Writers’ Workshop Faculty: Madison Smartt Bell, Billy Collins, Manuel Gonzales, Naomi Jackson, Daniel Menaker, Kate Moses, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Joy Williams, and Lisa Zeidner.

Edwidge Danticat reads from her memoir, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story, during the free-and-open-to-the-public Sunday afternoon session.

New York Times reporter Frances Robles led a conversation with Esmeralda Santiago and Tiphanie Yanique titled “The Forgotten: Literature, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the Hurricanes.”

Presenter Naomi Jackson in the audience.

Tiphanie Yanique and Robert Antoni: “Claiming a Hybrid Language, Seeking Hybrid Forms: What is the New Global Caribbean Literature?”

Robert Antoni

Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw

Former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Suzannah Gilman in the audience.

Madison Smartt Bell: “Death Spiral: 21st Century Turbulence in the Caribbean and Beyond”

Dantiel W. Moniz, winner of the 2018 Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award for Emerging Writers.

A tribute to Derek Walcott featured readings of the late Nobel laureate's verse by Tiphanie Yanique, Ishion Hutchinson, Kei Miller, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

Tiphanie Yanique and Ishion Hutchinson.

Ishion Hutchinson

Jamaica Kincaid, during a conversation with Caryl Phillips and Robert Antoni about the life and legacy of Derek Walcott, moderated by Jonathan Galassi.

Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Derek Walcott's former publisher.

Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura with his translator Anna Kushner, for a bilingual conversation “Escribir en Cuba en el Siglo XXI / Writing in Cuba in the 21st Century.”

Robert Antoni reading from his forthcoming novel, Cut Guavas.

André Alexis and Kei Miller at the book-signing table.

“Jamaican Letters: Past, Present, Future" A conversation with Nicole Dennis-Benn, Marlon James, and Kei Miller.

Poet and novelist Kei Miller, author of Augustown and The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion.

Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun.

Marlon James, Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings.

In a conversation moderated by Brent Hayes Edwards, André Alexis and Teju Cole discussed the importance of the Caribbean to their work and the black diaspora.

Trinidadian-born Novelist André Alexis, winner of Canada's prestigious Giller Prize.

Brent Hayes Edwards, a translator, editor, and Columbia University professor specializing in African American literature, francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, and black radical intellectuals.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro: “The Caribbean and the World”

A view of the theater at the San Carlos Institute from the balcony.

Teju Cole, Ishion Hutchinson, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

Teju Cole, Ishion Hutchinson, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

Ishion Hutchinson and Teju Cole signing books.

Esmeralda Santiago: “Writing a Life”

Marlon James and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

Marlon James and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

Caryl Phillips reading from his forthcoming novel, A View of the Empire at Sunset.

Nicole Dennis-Benn, Edwidge Danticat, and Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw: “Unpacking ‘Paradise’: Writing Honestly About People and Place”

Nicole Dennis-Benn

Edwidge Danticat

Rowan Ricardo Phillips: “I Who Have No Weapon but Poetry”

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Nicole Dennis-Benn and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

Jamaican writers Marlon James, Ishion Hutchinson, and Kei Miller at the opening night reception at the John James Audubon House.

Reception at the Audubon House.

2018 Emerging Writer Award winners Sara Johnson Allen, Dantiel W. Moniz, and Michael Lee.

Jamaica Kincaid delivering the John Hersey Memorial Address, “Let Me Appropriate You … And You Can Appropriate Me, Too”

Jamaica Kincaid.

Excitement builds in the audience as the 2018 Seminar is about to begin!

Books for sale in the pop-up store operated by Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West.

Tiphanie Yanique

Arlo Haskell, executive director of the Key West Literary Seminar.


The Star Side of Bird Hill: A reading by Naomi Jackson

By Sara Johnson Allen Author Naomi Jackson, who was named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Writers to Watch,” told the audience gathered for her Saturday afternoon reading that the Key West Literary Seminar provided her with a unique opportunity to ­be with both her peers and her heroes. “It’s like my …Read More

2017 KWLS Award Winners Read at San Carlos Institute

By Amy E. O’Neal Each year, the Key West Literary Seminar presents three prizes for emerging writers: the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award for a short story, the Marianne Russo Award for a novel in progress, and the Scotti Merrill Award for poetry. Winners receive a fully paid trip to the ...Read More

Jamaica Kincaid at Key West High School

While Rowan Ricardo Phillips took the podium on the blue-lit stage of the San Carlos Friday morning, amid palm fronds, paper moon, and nautical rope, Jamaica Kincaid set her black coffee on the ledge of the chasm – the open orchestra pit in the Key West High School Auditorium. Poised ...Read More

In Profile: Marlon James with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

By Sara Johnson Allen Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's conversation with novelist Marlon James, winner of the prestigious Man Booker Award among many others, began with what he was reading. Jelly-Schapiro noted that James arrived to the San Carlos Institute auditorium with three “new” used books. James quoted Cormac McCarthy saying, “books come ...Read More

Caryl Phillips: A View of the Empire at Sunset

By April Conley Caryl Phillips read from his forthcoming novel A View of the Empire at Sunset, whose main character is based on novelist Jean Rhys. After a brief background on Rhys’s biography and history in the Caribbean as someone who spent her early life in Dominica, Philips explained that when ...Read More

Danticat, Dennis-Benn & Walcott-Hackshaw “Unpack Paradise”

By Ruby Blackerby Hernandez "So I'm apparently from a shit hole country," Edwidge Danticat announced in her opening remarks to Friday morning's panel, "Unpacking Paradise: Writing Honestly About People and Place." This sharp observation, a reference to President Trump's recent vulgarities about Haiti, underscored the surreal timing of this year's Key West ...Read More

Jamaica Kincaid Considers the Question of Cultural Appropriation

By Sarah Thomas Thursday evening, Jamaica Kincaid took the stage to deliver the John Hersey Memorial Address for the 36th annual Key West Literary Seminar: “Writers of the Caribbean.” Seminar president Diane Shelby welcomed guests and introduced the weekend in the spirit of “sharing the words of homelands that are not our ...Read More

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