Accepting applications for 2021 Emerging Writer Awards

Each year, we present three awards to unpublished writers with exceptional talent. This year will be no different–at least in this respect. Even as many of our other programs are suspended due to the pandemic, we’re pleased to once again have the opportunity to support new voices in American literature through the 2021 Emerging Writer Awards.

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“A Seminar Named Desire” — postponed to January 6–9, 2022

Key West Literary Seminar’s board of directors has made the unanimous, sensible, and very sad decision to postpone “A Seminar Named Desire” for one year. It will now take place January 6–9, 2022. We are in the process of reconfirming the roster of presenters, and it appears that all will be able to join us for the new dates, along with others to be named later.

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Photo courtesy Florida Keys Public Libraries: Betty Suarez's third grade class, Reynolds Elementary School, 1965-66. Gift Lisa Suarez.

KWLS Alumni Newsletter, Summer 2020

It’s a joy to share with you the many recent achievements of our alumni, especially now. We hope you have found ways to keep your own creative growth and literary conversations going, despite the unprecedented events of the past few months.

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KWLS Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2019

Our alumni continue to amaze us with their productivity and dedication. Here you’ll find the most recent achievements of our past workshop students, Emerging Writer Award winners, scholarship recipients, and writers in residence.


Reading Between the Lines: Sports & Literature

Recommended Reading for the 2020 Seminar

Many of you have asked for a reading list to prepare for the upcoming presentations and panel discussions, so we’ve put together some recommendations from this year’s planning committee, as well as a sample book from each author that “fits” with this year’s topic. Happy reading!


Announcing our 2020 Emerging Writer Award Winners

Each year, we review hundreds of manuscript submissions in search of three emerging writers who possess exceptional talent and demonstrate potential for lasting literary careers. This year’s entries for the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award, the Scotti Merrill Award, and the Marianne Russo Award were especially compelling, and we are proud to announce the recipients of this year’s honors.


2020 Teacher & Librarian Scholarships

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2020 Teacher & Librarian Scholarships! Each year we recognize a diverse group of individuals who are making a positive impact on readers in their communities. We are pleased to offer these talented educators and librarians full scholarships to our annual Seminar. We hope that participation in our literary community inspires fresh engagement with literature in schools and libraries around the country.


KWLS Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2019

Summer is kicking into full gear here in Key West: mangoes are falling from the sky, humidity is creeping up, and the ocean is calling louder day by day.

This newsletter brings updates from KWLS workshop alumni, former Emerging Writer Award winners, scholarship winners, and writers-in-residence.


Young Writers in Key West find an “Island in the Works”

This summer, twelve South Florida high school students participated in “Island in the Works,” our innovative new studio program for young writers. The week-long session offered a curriculum rooted in great American writers who have lived on this subtropical island, including Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and James Merrill, and in the dynamic natural landscape that inspired them.


Announcing the 2019 Emerging Writer Award Winners

We are thrilled to announce the 2019 winners of the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award, the Marianne Russo Award, and the Scotti Merrill Award. We continue to be amazed by the overall quality of the submissions we receive for our three Emerging Writer Awards. We thank all who applied, and we encourage you to keep writing and keep submitting. Our three-round review process is thorough, and we’d also like to thank each of our reviewers for reading along with us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!