In 1986, the Fourth Annual Key West Literary Seminar was devoted entirely to the playwright Tennessee Williams. “Tennessee Williams in Key West” brought a number of Williams’s friends and associates to Key West, including publisher James Laughlin and playwright James Leo Herlihy. In preparation for his panel, “The Playwright as Poet,” John Malcolm Brinnin drafted a five-page manuscript on Williams. In the text, Brinnin recalls the first time he met Williams in Greenwich Village and likens the young playwright to a “shy child.” He then delves into what made Williams a “man who spoke from, and to, a broad seam of modern consciousness,” which Brinnin finds established Williams as a poet as much as he was a playwright.
Key West Literary Seminar welcomes readers and writers to this subtropical island city. Our flagship program is the annual Seminar, a four-day event that explores a unique literary theme each January, where readers from around the world enjoy presentations by some of the best writers of our time. In our Writers’ Workshop Program, also in January, writers of all levels meet in small groups with esteemed faculty to share their work and explore the craft of writing. A Scholarship Program reduces fees for teachers and librarians and recognizes the work of outstanding emerging writers. Exclusive recordings from the Seminar spanning thirty years are available in the Audio Archive, while our online journal, Littoral, features news, essays, photographs, and other resources that document Key West’s rich literary history.
A diversity of life thrives in the littoral zone — a thin strip of coastline between high and low watermarks. As the operating metaphor for our online journal, it refers to that part of Key West routinely overrun by the tide of literature and to the rich life of letters in this island city. Here you’ll find event coverage from our team of writers and photographers; news and updates about upcoming opportunities; and rare images from historic collections, interviews, and all manner of report from Key West’s life of letters.