Featured Speakers

Kiese Laymon


Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of […]

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Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan


Novelist • Essayist

Esi Edugyan is only the third writer, after M. G. Vassanji and Alice Munro, ever to win the Giller Prize twice.

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John Irving

John Irving


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Screenwriter

John Irving is an award-winning American novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of The World According to Garp (1978), The Cider House Rules (1985), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), and A Widow for One Year (1998).

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Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Essayist

New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean has been called “a national treasure” by The Washington Post. Her deeply moving explorations of American stories both familiar and obscure have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as […]

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Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson


Author • Filmmaker

TED Fellow Mitchell S. Jackson is the author of Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family (March 2019). This hybrid—part essay, part memoir, part history—uses stories of Jackson’s family and friends to speak to larger issues in American culture, including the racial history of Oregon, whiteness in America, the prison system, drug addiction, criminality, sex work, violence, and broken families.

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Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Documentary Filmmaker

Alex Kotlowitz unpacks America’s troubled legacy of racial injustice, and explores the poverty and violence that are its inevitable consequences. His next book, American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, out in March 2019, has the potential to change our national conversation about violence, race, and poverty.

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The Lacks Family


The Lacks Family of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

The Lacks family has enthralled audiences across the country by talking about their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Henrietta Lacks, and her transcendentally important contributions to science. The international success of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, has left people keenly interested in the Lacks family and Henrietta’s legacy. In their appearances, the family shares with audiences […]

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Lisa See

Lisa See


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist

In her beloved New York Times bestsellers, including Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy and China Dolls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the strong bonds between women, romantic love, and love of country. In See’s next novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, she returns to those timeless themes.

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Eli Saslow

Eli Saslow


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Journalist • Author

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage for The Washington Post, Eli Saslow, who has been called “one of the great young journalists in America,” reveals the human stories behind the most divisive issues of our time. From racism and poverty to addiction and school shootings, Saslow’s work uncovers the manifold impacts of major national issues on […]

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Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist

“Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins Since the publication of his first story collection, The Shell Collector, in 2002, Anthony […]

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Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot


Bestselling Author • Journalist

Bestselling author Rebecca Skloot spent more than ten years doggedly uncovering the truth about the life, death, and ultimate “immortality” of a poor Black tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. Her phenomenal book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has sold nearly 3 million copies to date. In The Immortal Life, Skloot tells the story of a young […]

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Sheri Fink

Sheri Fink


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for journalism and a National Magazine Award, Sheri Fink is the author of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. The book is a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital during Hurricane Katrina, and a suspenseful portrayal of the pursuit of justice […]

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Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author

“A lot of the job of a person trying to write stories that are true is to make what’s true believable. It isn’t enough to say, well, it actually happened. You have to make it believable on the page; you have to bring people to life and scenes to life.”

—Tracy Kidder

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Subjects

New & Noteworthy

Heavy: An American Memoir

Praise for Heavy: An American Memoir

[A] gorgeous, gutting book that’s fueled by candor yet freighted with ambivalence.

The New York Times

Coders

Praise for Coders

Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells

Praise for Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells

[An] engrossing narrative, a moving meditation on loss, and an evocative, lyrical portrait of Japanese society.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Other Americans

Praise for The Other Americans

This deftly constructed account of a crime and its consequences shows up, in its quiet way, the pressures under which ordinary Americans of Muslim background have labored since the events of 9/11.

J. M. Coetzee