Inventing Biographies in 140 Characters

Photographer Curt Richter

As we usher in the 31st annual Key West Literary Seminar with “Writers On Writers” this Thursday evening, we look forward to engaging readers and writers in attendance here in Key West, and also around the world through our multi-media coverage online. We’ll explore the life and works of beloved literary icons as told by some of the most provocative contemporary writers and scholars today.

If you can’t join us physically in Key West during the seminar’s two consecutive weekends, January 10-13 and January 17-20, 2013, we invite you to join us virtually as we live-tweet panel discussions and readings on Twitter and share highlights on Facebook. Make sure you follow along and join the conversation on Twitter at @KeyWestLiterary and #KWLS and on Facebook at

While we immerse ourselves in the works of writers like  James AtlasBlake BaileyBilly CollinsMark DotyGeoff DyerBrad GoochLyndall GordonPaul HendricksonPico IyerD.T. MaxKate MosesAnn NapolitanoJay PariniRobert D. RichardsonPhyllis RoseJulie SalamonAlexandra StyronJudith ThurmanColm TóibínEdmund White, and Brenda Wineapple, we also hope to engage you in a creative project (or two) on Twitter.

International portrait photographer Curt Richter will be joining us once again this year, and we’ve scoured his portfolio for inspiration. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, we hope it will inspire a 140-character invented biography from you, our readers.

Here’s how these imagined micro-biographies will work:

Throughout the seminar, we’ll tweet out one of Richter’s photographs and ask you to tweet back a self-contained, tweet-length biography inspired by the portrait using the hashtag #WoWbio. We’ll retweet your submissions and compile our favorites here on Littoral along with the touchstone photograph. The first portrait will be tweeted at 10am on Friday January 11, and we’ll take it from there as the seminar progresses. Stay tuned for updates and more interactive social media projects.

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