January 15, 2012
Joyce Carol Oates
Rafael & Bob Graham
- Douglas Coupland, “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”
The 2012 Key West Literary Seminar is quickly fading into the past and I have been very remiss about posting in this blog in the aftermath. Each year, the seminar is the culmination of months of hectic activity for Kathy & I and by the time it is completed, we usually just want to crawl into our house and hibernate for a few weeks.
Nick & John
Jim, Janna & Colson
That is what we have been doing for the most part for the early part of 2012. The seminar was really the focal point of early January. The concluding sessions were held on Sunday and included readings and panel discussions from Billy Collins, Gary Shteyngart, China Mieville, Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead and Jonathan Lethem in the morning session which is the official conclusion of the seminar. The final book-signing also included well-known Key West based writer Annie Dillard.
Gary & Annie
The afternoon session is not included for the paid attendees, but a free and open to the public session. Locals begin lining up for the session on Duval Street about an hour and a half before the afternoon session starts and hundreds were waiting this year as we filled the seats for the readings. The afternoon featured authors James Tate, Billy Collins, George Saunders, Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, Dexter Palmer and Gary Shteyngart.
China & Gary
It was a wonderful final day and once the final attendee had left the auditorium, the staff had a brief annual champagne celebration on the stage to mark the conclusion of yet another seminar. The seminar was a huge success and everyone seemed pleased and certainly enjoyed the entire weekend. Personally, I cannot thank the wonderful volunteers and staff enough for making my part of the seminar such a smooth experience. Special kudos to Jim Gleick for an amazing program and for being the heart and soul of this year’s seminar and to Miles, Arlo, Ian, Jolly, Melody & Dan, Doug, Mike, Shayne, Alan, Kate and all the amazing volunteers who worked the seminar this year.
Lynn & David Kaufelt hosted the official Sunday evening after party at their lovely home and then there was a final party for the workshop participants at the Love Lane compound on Monday evening and it was all over. My friend (and former seminar volunteer coordinator) Bob Muens and his wife Jody arrived from Washington DC in time to attend the final seminar party.
Jody, Eric, Betsy, Bob & Rosie
Their arrival actually drew me out later in the week as a party was held in their honor by our mutual friends Mark & Nancy and though I was fairly exhausted, I made it out briefly to say hello and hang out with friends. They were in town for only about a week and I wanted to make sure to spend some time with them.
The only other event that I attended this week was the seventh annual Key West Seafood Festival at Bayview Park. This event just continues to grow and grow and this year they estimated that 10,000 people attended. The crowds that were there when I stopped by in the early afternoon gave me no reason to doubt those numbers. I ate a pile of delicious seafood and brought home some carry-out for Kathy, who opted to stay home and continue our low profile month.