Florida: The State We're In

Coverage of the 2024 Seminar: "Florida: The State We're In"

John Hersey Memorial Address: Jeff VanderMeer
Presenters: Dave Barry, Richard Blanco, Katie Blankenship, Judy Blume, Lily Brooks-Dalton, Joy Castro, Billy Collins, Jennine Capó Crucet, P. Scott Cunningham, Sika Dagbovie-Mullins, Jack E. Davis, Tananarive Due, Patricia Engel, Jonathan Escoffery, Regis M. Fox, Brendan Greaves, Lauren Groff, Carl Hiaasen, Mitchell Kaplan, Gilbert King, Campbell McGrath, Dantiel W. Moniz, Craig Pittman, Rebecca Renner, Diane Roberts, Frenchie Robles, Karen Russell, Eve Samples, Les Standiford, Stephen Tremaine, Jeff VanderMeer
Special Guests: Terry Allen with Jo Harvey Allen, Bukka Allen, and Richard Bowden; Daniel Milewski
Writers’ Workshop Faculty: Matt Bell, Joy Castro, Jonathan Escoffery, Kimiko Hahn, Marie Howe, Paul Lisicky, Rebecca Makkai, David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Confronting Difficult Issues from Three Distinct Angles

By Nancy Freund
First to the microphone after Katrin Schumann’s glowing introduction of the Seminar’s three Emerging Writer Award winners, was Erika Higgins Ross, of Western Massachusetts, (Marianne Russo Award for a novel-in-progress) whose moving work, The Before Times, opens with a debutante-gone-wild…

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The Best Beat in American Journalism: Covering the Florida Environment

By Michele Nereim
No, Craig Pittman and Rebecca Renner didn’t roar up on an airboat, driving the Greedy Developer into the karmic jaws of an American crocodile (à la Hiaasen), but that was the energy they brought to the stage in their talk, “The Best Beat in American Journalism: Covering the Florida Environment.”

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Writing toward Home

By Nancy Freund
Sika Dagbovie-Mullins opened Sunday’s panel on Putting Black Florida on the Page quoting Tananarive Due’s 2020 short story collection Ghost Summer, saying home is a place we might not be comfortable, but we “make it work.” She then turned to her three Black panelists: Dantiel W. Moniz, from Jacksonville, Tananarive Due, and Jonathan Escoffery, both from Miami.

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Humorists Hiassen and Barry Bring Punchlines and Mayhem Saturday Afternoon

By Annette Holmstrom
As a fierce squall line from the Gulf zeroed in on Key West’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater, Dave Barry pivoted from prepared notes.

“I have notes and Carl never does,” Barry had reminded us earlier, as he waved paper at Hiassen, his long-time friend and fellow Florida humorist. 

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Patricia Engel, Lauren Groff and Karen Russell: “Stories and Floridas”

By Cristina Favretto
On an alternately sunny, shady, breezy, still, hot, chilly (aka: South Florida in January) morning, the audience attending the “Stories and Floridas” session of the 41st KWLS heard three formidable authors riff on what constituted a “Florida story,” as opposed to, say, one about Rhode Island or Delaware…

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Book Bans: The Joy and Excitement in the Fight

By Erika Higgins Ross
It’s hard to imagine that “joy” would be a central theme of a panel entitled “Book Bans: What We’re Doing to Fight Florida’s Anti-Reader Policies,” but it came up again and again as the threat of a rainstorm passed on Saturday afternoon…

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Something in the Water

By Megan Spring
The sun had started her downward arc when the Key West Literary Seminar’s second session of the afternoon gathered authors, Jack E. Davis, Craig Pittman, Diane Roberts, and Les Standiford to the stage. Once they had all sunk into the plush sunset-colored chairs to chew over Florida’s wild places and weird politics, and how both inspired a literary tradition…

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Dystopian Realism and Climate Fiction

By Luke Fredland
On Friday, Craig Pittman moderated Lily Brooks-Dalton, Lauren Groff, and Jeff VanderMeer in a wide-ranging and eloquent discussion of the difficulties, tactics, and responsibilities of fiction that addresses the climate crisis…

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Carl Hiaasen visits Key West High School

By Kyla Shoemaker
“I thought if you had a boat and a bicycle, it [Key West] would have just been a great place to grow up.”

Speaking about his new book Wrecker, Carl Hiaasen sat in front of over 800 Key West High School students and staff on Friday morning…

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Keynote Speaker Jeff Vandermeer gives the John Hersey Memorial Address

By Catherine Manfra
On this gloomy Thursday, the weather did not keep the crowd away from attending the opening of the 41st annual Key West Literary Seminar held at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater.

Arlo Haskell, executive director for the Key West Literary Seminar made sure that the event began on time…

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