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.
This will be the first January in nearly 40 years without the seminar. For many of us, it is the center around which the rest of the year turns. But it has become increasingly clear that it is not possible to hold the seminar during a pandemic, which, by all likelihood, will still be with us in January. It will be strange for the seminar not to be there — as so much about our lives is strange now.
As of now, the workshop program is still scheduled to take place in January. The smaller numbers of people involved leave us some room for optimism that it could be held safely come January, and we will continue to evaluate this over the next several weeks.
Read on for a personal letter from our president, Nancy Klingener.
Thank you for your support of the Seminar during this time, and always,
Arlo Haskell | Executive Director
A letter from our president, Nancy Klingener
I became president of the Key West Literary Seminar on January 19, after the end of this year’s program. The next day, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States.
We’ve all learned a lot since then and many have suffered — and continue to suffer. Postponing our annual gathering is a relatively small sacrifice. It’s still painful.
The pandemic has forced me to consider what is essential in my life, and brought new appreciation for those who provide it. For us — the extended Key West Literary Seminar community — books are essential. They’re helping us get through, bringing us solace and escape, information and enlightenment. Long before air travel or the Internet, books took us almost anywhere in time and space. I would add bookstore and library staff to the essential workers on the front lines. We need to support them now, and also take care not to place them — or anyone — at any unnecessary risk.
That’s what a gathering of hundreds of people in a pandemic would be. A risk we cannot take with the community of writers and readers who create the Seminar every year. All of you, and your safety, are essential to us.
In January, every year until now, we connect — in person — with writers we have admired for decades and writers we are introduced to for the first time on our stage. With old friends and new arrivals. We can’t do that now. But we will be working hard to stay connected with you, through technology as new as the digital realm and as old as words on paper.
Please take care of yourself and the essential people around you. We’ll see you in person when it’s safe. Until then, we’ll keep reading, keep writing, keep working on our mission of fostering literary culture, connecting with the universe of letters from a tiny island at the end of the road.
Thank you for your essential part in that mission.
Nancy Klingener | President of the Board of Directors