Key West Literary Seminar

Key West Literary Seminar

Key West Literary Seminar

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The Key West Literary Seminar is a writers' conference and festival held each January in Key West, Florida. It draws an international audience for readings, panel discussions, and workshops.


The Seminar was founded in 1983 by David Kaufelt and his wife Lynn Kaufelt, as a program operated by the Council for Florida Libraries. The inaugural event, known as the Key West Literary Tour and Seminar, consisted of readings, panel discussions, literary walking tours, and cocktail parties. This basic format remains unchanged.

In its early years, the Seminar focused on the literary history of Key West, a small subtropical town which has been home to Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, and Tennessee Williams, among others. Subsequent Seminars have been devoted to broader genres or literary themes.

In 1987, the Seminar incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation, run by a board of directors, with Lynn Kaufelt named as the executive director. In 1988, Monica Haskell became executive director. She was succeeded by Miles Frieden in 1995. Many well-known authors have served on the Seminar's board of directors, including Judy Blume, Harry Mathews, James Gleick, William Wright, Richard Wilbur, and John Malcolm Brinnin. An honorary board of directors has included popular singer Jimmy Buffett, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and writers Annie Dillard, Robert Stone, Alison Lurie, and Joy Williams.

The Seminar was formerly held at the Tennessee Williams...
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