Key West Literary Seminar returns after pandemic break

January 6, 2022 GMT

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Noted American and international writers are gathering in the Florida Keys to explore literary depictions of desire during the 39th Key West Literary Seminar.

After being postponed in 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns, the seminar begins Thursday at an open-air amphitheater with health safety protocols in place.

Key West was once home to literary giants Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. The four-day conclave is themed after Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Events will begin with an address by Lauren Groff, whose latest novel “Matrix” examines themes of passion and power in a 12th-century nunnery.

Registrants will attend readings, lectures and panel discussions by writers including Jericho Brown, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Tom Perrotta, whose “The Leftovers” and “Mrs. Fletcher” both became HBO television series; and National Book Award winner Colum McCann.

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Scheduled presentations include a conversation between Jami Attenberg, author of “All This Could Be Yours,” and Key West resident Judy Blume, whose renowned children’s and young adult books address complex subjects such as teen sexuality.

“It’s great we are at the point when all passions and desires can be acknowledged, so that even kids can find themselves in books — to know that they aren’t the only ones, that it’s okay to feel the way they feel,” Blume said.

The seminar concludes Sunday afternoon with a free public program of readings and commentary by featured writers.