Featured Speakers

Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones


Bestselling Author • Novelist

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels. Her most recent An American Marriage is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection, and winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award.

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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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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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Rachel Louise Snyder

Rachel Louise Snyder


Domestic Violence Advocate • 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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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 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 the powerful and provocative memoir Heavy (which won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction), the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.

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Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Memoirist

Jeanne Marie Laskas is one of the most incisive, wide-ranging, and appealing voices in contemporary journalism. An “intrepid reporter and great storyteller” (Kirkus), she has been writing longform narratives for GQ, Esquire, and other magazines for more than 20 years. She has profiled everyone from Mr. Rogers to Vice President Joe Biden, and has done […]

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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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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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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

A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations

Praise for A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations

With an elegant, understated manner, Iyer…offers poignant reflections on his adopted country and its maddening contradictions and shifting parts…Marvelously nuanced reflections on a nation “in constant motion.”

Kirkus