40th Key West literary seminar focuses on Black literature

Nearly two dozen authors and scholars will explore contemporary Black literature and African American literary history at the 40th annual Key West Literary Seminar on the continental United States’ southernmost island.

The “Singing America: A Celebration of Black Literature” seminar began Thursday night with a keynote address on African American poetry by Kevin Young, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and author of 13 books including the 2021 poetry collection “Stones.”

Some 500 people are attending the seminar’s discussions and lectures on topics that include restoring Black voices to American history and the implications of climate change for writers and readers.

BLACK HISTORY IS AMERICAN HISTORY

Key West’s 40th annual literary seminar is focusing primarily on Black literature this year. Beginning on Thursday nearly 500 people attend the seminar.

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Other activities include readings, book signings, guided literary walking tours, events highlighting Key West’s Black history and performances by the 40-member Ambassador Chorale of Florida Memorial University.

The event is being held at an open-air amphitheater in Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park, and the schedule includes free public programs Friday and Saturday evenings and all day Sunday.