Featured Speakers

Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett


Public Radio & Podcast Host • Bestselling Author • Social Entrepreneur

Tippett is the Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author behind public radio’s On Being and the books Becoming Wise and Einstein’s God. Her next book, Letters to a Young Citizen, a field guide for discovering creative possibilities and reclaiming conversation and civility, is out in 2021.

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Dr. Danielle Allen

Dr. Danielle Allen


Political Theorist • Public Intellectual • Cultural Commentator

Harvard’s Dr. Danielle Allen is a political theorist widely known for her work on justice and citizenship. Troubled by the fact that so few Americans actually know what the Declaration of Independence says or how it affects them, the MacArthur “Genius” set out to explore the document with her students in Our Declaration, revealing that our nation’s founding text is not just a historical one but rather an animating force that can change the course of our everyday lives.

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Masha Gessen


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

One of the most trenchant observers of Russia and its history, Masha Gessen is a journalist, activist and bestselling author of nonfiction, including the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History. Their latest, Surviving Autocracy, is a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy under the Trump administration.

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Jesmyn Ward


National Book Award Winner • Essayist • Memoirist

New York Times bestselling author and MacArthur “Genius” Jesmyn Ward is the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice, for her novels Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones. The American Booksellers Association has called her “the new Toni Morrison.”

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Christa Parravani


Essayist • Memoirist • Women's Rights Advocate

The memoirist behind Her: A Memoir and the forthcoming Loved and Wanted: A Woman’s Education on Choice, Christa Parravani interrogates ideas of grief, loss and woman’s rights.

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Kiese Laymon


Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist

Laymon is the author of Heavy: An American Memoir, a fearless and provocative memoir which unpacks what a lifetime of secrets and lies does to a Black body, a Black family, and a nation hunkered on the edge of moral collapse. His next novel, And So On, is forthcoming.

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Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami


Novelist • Author • Essayist

Award winning author Laila Lalami is a unique voice in the national conversation about identity and immigration. Her latest novel The Other Americans, infused with questions about American’s legacy of assimilation and discrimination, was a National Book Award finalist. She is also the author of The Moor’s Account , a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.

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Dr. Matthew Desmond

Dr. Matthew Desmond


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Urban Ethnographer

Princeton sociologist, Pulitzer Prize-winner, and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City is a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that has forever changed the way we look at poverty in America.

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Stephanie Land


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Economic Justice Advocate

Land’s bestselling debut memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive recounts her story as a single mom navigating the physical, economic, and social stigmas that domestic workers face, all while radiating a parent’s hope and resilience.

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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

Among Flowers

Praise for Among Flowers

Travel writing at its best.

Sunday Times (London)

Loved and Wanted

Praise for Loved and Wanted

Intimate, affecting. . . . A candid, personal look at the political and cultural forces shaping women’s lives.

Kirkus

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

The Book of Two Ways

Praise for The Book of Two Ways

Jodi Picoult fans rejoice! . . . The Book of Two Ways is one story you won’t be able to put down.

CNN

I'll Be Seeing You: A Memoir

Praise for I'll Be Seeing You: A Memoir

Brave, sweet, angry, loving, unbearable, and absolutely necessary.

Stewart O’Nan, author of Emily, Alone and Henry, Himself

The Arrest

Praise for The Arrest

An impeccably executed, moving, and wildly inventive tale of madness and narrative at the end of the world. Lethem is at the top of his game.

Emily St. John Mandel

Conditional Citizens

Praise for Conditional Citizens

A blitz on the way the nation injures and titillates its most vulnerable.

Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy