A Life UnWritten with Harrison Scott Key | Episode 127
OCTOBER 10, 2017
EPISODE 127 | OCTOBER 10, 2017
If scars are stories, Harrison Scott Key has more than enough to fill the books that he writes. Growing up in the south, he’s taken his share of licks and has come through each harrowing event with another funny story to tell. He contemplates life while washing kitchenware and feels that our uncertainty is what unities us. When Benjamin sits down to chat with Harrison, the two dive into humor, family, and many, many anecdotes. This is Harrison Scott Key.
Harrison Scott Key is the author of the memoir The World's Largest Man (Harper), a true story about what it's like to be related to insane people from Mississippi, including the surprise revelation, on the last page, that he is also insane and the book is a hallucination. Or is it? (SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t! Or is it? Harrison is checking with his fact-checker to confirm what "truth" is and isn't.) The book was reviewed and mostly loved by book reviewers who were mostly loved as children and even won the 2016 Thurber Prize for American Humor, a major literary award, according to his mother.
Harrison's humor and nonfiction have appeared in The Best American Travel Writing, Oxford American, Outside, The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Salon, Reader's Digest, Image, Southern Living, Gulf Coast, and Creative Nonfiction, as well as a number of magazines that don't pay you anything at all, not even a little. His work has been adapted for the stage and performed by Chicago's Neo-Futurists in their show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and Stories on Stage in Denver, Colorado, one of which paid him and one of which didn't, but it was cool, because, like, they are probably poor anyway, and helping the poor is a priority for Harrison, should he come under scrutiny. Harrison has also performed comedy at venues around the U.S., if you include three or four different cities to be "around the U.S.," which may be a stretch. As well, his plays and monologues have been performed at theaters across the South and in New York. The one in New York was "Off-off Broadway" and was barely fifteen minutes long and at the time, Harrison was too poor even to go see it, but he heard it was great and appreciated the reviewer saying it was funny, even though she also said hurtful things about him personally.
Harrison has spoken to audiences at book festivals, bookstores, conferences, and universities around the country, as well as retirement communities and at least one religious organization whose members were perfectly courteous up until the end. He holds an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction and a Ph.D. in playwriting and teaches writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children and a cat named Joan and a fish that won't ever die or may be dead already, it is difficult to tell.