Featured Speakers

Jesmyn Ward


Novelist • Essayist • Memoirist

Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward is hailed as one of the standout writers of her generation. Betsy Burton of the American Booksellers Association has called her “the new Toni Morrison.” Ward has proven her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she […]

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Jeff Goodell

Jeff Goodell


Author • Energy & Environment Expert • Investigative Journalist

“The greatest danger we face is not technological hubris, but human apathy.” —Jeff Goodell Through years of research, acclaimed author and investigative journalist Jeff Goodell has established himself as an expert on the coal industry, geoengineering, and climate change. As the price of oil soars and the seas rise, as energy independence and global warming […]

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Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Short Story Writer

Alice Hoffman has been called “America’s literary heir to the Brothers Grimm,” and her luminous and remarkable “fables of the everyday” have enchanted readers since the publication of her first novel, Property Of, in 1977. Decades later, with numerous acclaimed and bestselling novels, as well as two short story collections and many books for young […]

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Dr. Brian Fagan


Archaeologist • Author • Climate Change Historian

Brian Fagan is a leading authority on the complex relationship between the environment, climate change, and human society. Fagan has 46 books under his belt, including eight college textbooks familiar to two generations of archaeology students. For audiences ranging from business executives to high school students, he positions today’s highly publicized climate crisis in a crucial […]

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Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Historian

“Truth requires a maximum effort to see through the eyes of strangers, foreigners and enemies.” —Taylor Branch Over the course of his storied career, author and historian Taylor Branch has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Humanities Medal.  His landmark […]

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Dr. Matthew Desmond

Dr. Matthew Desmond


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Urban Ethnographer

“Desmond is an academic who teaches at Harvard—a sociologist or, you could say, an ethnographer. But I would like to claim him as a journalist too, and one who…has set a new standard for reporting on poverty.” —Barbara Ehrenreich MacArthur Genius Matthew Desmond’s New York Times bestselling book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City draws […]

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Dr. Allyson Hobbs

Dr. Allyson Hobbs


Author • Essayist • Historian

Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and a contributing staff writer to The New Yorker. Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard […]

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