More than 20 leading American and international writers are to explore literary depictions of desire, from the profound to the profane, during the 39th annual Key West Literary Seminar. The acclaimed gathering for literature fans is set for Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 6-9.
Among the featured writers are Judy Blume, a Key West resident who is internationally renowned for 29 perceptive children’s and young adult classics and books for adult readers; Jericho Brown, whose volume “The Tradition” won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Jami Attenberg, New York Times best-selling author of “The Middlesteins” and “All This Could Be Yours”; Tom Perrotta, whose “The Leftovers” and “Mrs. Fletcher” were both adapted into HBO television series; and Dani Shapiro, who penned the bestselling memoir “Inheritance” and developed the popular podcast “Family Secrets.”
To protect against the possible spread of the coronavirus, all seminar sessions and programming are to be held outdoors, with most in a large open-ended saddlespan tent at Key West’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater, 21 Quay Road. Organizers encourage participants to voluntarily provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and will request that they follow CDC masking guidance.
The seminar begins Thursday evening with a keynote presentation by Lauren Groff, whose mesmerizing novel “Matrix” explores themes of passion, faith and power in an abbey of 12th-century English nuns.
Subsequent events include readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings and receptions where attendees and authors can mingle. Anticipated highlights are to include a conversation between Judy Blume and Jami Attenberg, a reading by Jericho Brown and a marquee interview with Edmund White, author of 30-some books including autobiographical novels and works that draw on the gay experience.
While most are open only to seminar registrants, the program includes Sunday afternoon presentations that are open to the public and include readings and commentary by several of the featured writers. Admission is free with first-come, first-served seating.
The 2022 seminar is currently sold out, but additional tickets may become available. Those interested are encouraged to sign up on the waitlist at airtable.com/shritOjsOGI2NbHOr
In addition, space is still available in associated “The Writer’s Toolkit” sessions scheduled Tuesday through Thursday, Jan.11-13. The afternoon sessions are designed to help writers of all levels with promotion and publication.
Seminar information and schedule: kwls.org
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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I think certain school board members should attend.