Featured Speakers

Rachel Louise Snyder

Rachel Louise Snyder


Journalist • Author

Rachel Louise Snyder is the author of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill UsFugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade, and the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing.

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Gish Jen

Gish Jen


Novelist • Essayist

Gish Jen is the author of five novels: Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, The Love Wife, World and Town, and The Resisters (forthcoming in 2020). Her most recent book is The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap.

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Stephanie Land


Bestselling Author • Journalist

Stephanie Land is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.

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Jessica Bruder


Journalist • Author

Praised by the New Yorker as “an acute and compassionate observer,” Jessica Bruder reports on subcultures, economic justice and social issues. She is the author of Discover Prize-winning Nomadland.

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Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Essayist

Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan writes richly imagined and impeccably researched stories that illuminate complicated truths about race and belonging. “One of our sharpest and deepest writers of historical fiction,” according to Entertainment Weekly, she is only the third writer to twice win the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award.

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Kiese Laymon


Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist

“Kiese Laymon is a star in the American literary firmament, with a voice that is courageous, honest, loving, and singularly beautiful.”
—Martha Anne Toll, NPR
Laymon’s bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, was awarded the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose.

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Lisa See

Lisa See


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist

In her many beloved New York Times bestsellers, including Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Peony in Love, Shanghai GirlsDreams of Joy, China Dolls, and The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See brilliantly illuminates the strong bonds between women, romantic love, and love of country.

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Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami


Novelist • Author • Essayist

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lalami is a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention. Her latest novel, The Other Americans is about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant in a small California town.

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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

Bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz is recognized for his unflinching portrayals of race and poverty in America. In his latest, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, Kotlowitz returns to some of Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods to offer a spellbinding collection of intimate profiles of people and communities touched by gun violence.

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Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson


Journalist • Author • Tech Industry Expert

Clive Thompson is a longtime contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a columnist for Wired, and the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better and Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World.

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Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer


Bestselling Author • Essayist • Travel Writer

With his keen-eyed observations, bestselling writer Pico Iyer is a chronicler of the desire to seek new frontiers and view familiar terrain through fresh eyes. “Arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer,” according to Outside magazine, he is the author of two novels and several works of nonfiction, including the new Autumn Light and enduring favorites as The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul.

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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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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

Praise for No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

[Snyder] glides from history to the present day, from scene to analysis, with a relaxed virtuosity that filled me with admiration. This is a writer using every tool at her disposal to make this story come alive, to make it matter.

The New York Times

The Other Americans

Praise for The Other Americans

I believe The Great American Novel doesn’t exist, at least in the 21st century, because the American experience is too vast and multifaceted to be confined to one book’s pages. However, if someone asked me to name one book I think at least grapples with the problem of trying to be The Great American Novel, I’d name The Other Americans.

NPR

Survival Math

Praise for Survival Math

Survival Math is the best memoir I’ve read in ages. With honesty, insight, and a tremendous amount of heart, Mitchell S. Jackson takes us deep into the stories that made, ruined, and saved him. It’s intimate and wise; poignant and compassionate; redemptive and raw.

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

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