One Last Key West Photo–TW Reading at the Seminar

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Photo by Nick Doll.

I had a jacket on and everything! And only look a little puffy and haggard. Not bad for Day 12 at the KWLS. This was taken during the award-winners reading on the final Sunday of festivities at the San Carlos Institute. I presented part of my piece that won the Marianne Russo Award, “On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown,” which is excerpted from the novel I’m working on.

TW Headed Back to EYW & KWLS via the Russo Award!

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, hero of Cuban independence and a familiar sight to the guests and patrons of the Key West Literary Seminar.

[Please excuse any and all verbal cheersing-myself that may occur in the following.]

More great news to share, as I’ve been awarded the Marianne Russo Award by the Key West Literary Seminar!

Here’s the official announcement on Littoral, the seminar’s blog. (Also, you can read more about the KWLS scholarship program here if you’re interested in applying next year, and you should be. No entry fee=no worries.) As if ten days in Key West during January wasn’t enough, the prize includes tuition to both sessions of seminars and workshop programs, airfare to and lodging in Key West, and some spending cash, along with the opportunity to present a reading of my work during the conference (on Sunday, January 19, at 11:40am, to be exact, if you happen to be in the neighborhood). It’s really a very generous award and a great opportunity. I’m thrilled to be headed back, this time with a little hardware waiting for me.

I feel like I’m telling people all the time what a great experience KWLS is. It truly is the best there is and an indispensable part of our American literary culture, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks so much to Miles Frieden (Executive Director of KWLS) and Arlo Haskell (Associate Director), who do such a great job every year. This will be my third trip to KWLS. (Here’s what happened last time I was there.) My first seminar dealt with historical fiction, the second with speculative fiction. This time the theme is “The Dark Side: Mystery, Crime & the Literary Thriller.”

I’ll be reading my work here in January. Eek.

The schedule includes events with Robert Stone, Percival Everett, Joyce Carol Oates, William Gibson, Carl Hiaasen, John Banville, among many others. I’m not really all that familiar with crime writing, frankly, and that makes this even more exciting. I wasn’t really all that interested in historical fiction when I attended my first KWLS–and certainly didn’t anticipate ever spending half a decade writing a historical novel myself.

While odd-numbered years can often be a cruel mistress, 2013 has without a doubt been good to me. There have been contest wins, publications (here, here) and acceptances (here, here), honorable mentions (here, here, here), an international fellowship to summer abroad, travel (here, here), along with the fact that we moved into a new house and love living in Dundee. I’ve enjoyed myself quite a lot this year and am not exactly looking forward to a new calendar, knowing how things tend to turn around. The party has to end sometime, right? Luckily, some more good luck has come along that guarantees, if nothing else, my 2014 will begin in style.

Thanks so much KWLS. See you soon!