Featured Speakers

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Women’s Advocate

Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield and The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, about a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban. She is at work on a forthcoming book about Kurdish women leading the battle against ISIS.

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David Finkel


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

Finkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post editor, explores what we ask of the men and women we send to war—and how we fail them when they come home in his two bestselling books, The Good Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service.

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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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Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot


Bestselling Author • Journalist

Skloot’s extraordinary debut, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, spent more than seven years on the bestseller lists. More than 100 schools and communities have chosen The Immortal Life for their common read programs and the book has been translated into more than 25 languages and adapted for the screen by HBO and Oprah.

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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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Katherine Boo

Katherine Boo


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist noted for her reporting on poverty and inequality, Boo is the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a gripping narrative of life in a Mumbai slum. The book won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Lisa Ko


Novelist • Essayist

Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. As the daughter of Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, Ko offers “a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America” (Publishers Weekly).

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Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Poet

Beatty, an acerbic and fearless commentator on race and pop culture, is the first American to win the Man Booker Prize for The Sellout. He has been called “one of the shrewdest cultural commentators, and hilarious cutups, of his generation” (Interview).

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Téa Obreht

Téa Obreht


Bestselling Author • Novelist

Téa Oberht’s acclaimed debut, The Tiger’s Wife, was a National Book Award finalist; and her second novel, Inland, was listed on President Obama’s 2019 summer reading list.

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NoViolet Bulawayo


Novelist • Essayist • Short Story Writer

PEN/Hemingway Prize-winner, Bulawayo is a breakout voice in the literature of the African diaspora. She is the author of We Need New Names, which was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

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Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber


Author • Essayist • Memoirist
Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Poet

John Berendt


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Essayist

Elizabeth Berg


Bestselling Author • Novelist
Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Human Rights Advocate
Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber


Pastor • Bestselling Author • Memoirist
Katherine Boo

Katherine Boo


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist
Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Historian

Jessica Bruder


Journalist • Author

NoViolet Bulawayo


Novelist • Essayist • Short Story Writer
Ana Castillo

Ana Castillo


Author • Essayist • Poet
Vikram Chandra

Vikram Chandra


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist

Justin Cronin


Bestselling Author • Novelist
Dr. Matthew Desmond

Dr. Matthew Desmond


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Urban Ethnographer
Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist
Heidi Durrow

Heidi Durrow


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Essayist
Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Essayist

Dr. Brian Fagan


Archaeologist • Author • Climate Change Historian
Sheri Fink

Sheri Fink


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

David Finkel


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

Richard Ford


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist
Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist
Julia Glass

Julia Glass


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist
Dr. Alice Goffman

Dr. Alice Goffman


Author • Social Justice Advocate • Urban Ethnographer
Jeff Goodell

Jeff Goodell


Author • Energy & Environment Expert • Investigative Journalist
Dr. Allyson Hobbs

Dr. Allyson Hobbs


Author • Essayist • Historian
Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Short Story Writer
Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon


Author • Energy & Security Expert • Political Scientist
A.M. Homes

A.M. Homes


Novelist • Essayist • Memoirist
Nancy Horan

Nancy Horan


Bestselling Author • Novelist
John Irving

John Irving


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Screenwriter
Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer


Bestselling Author • Essayist • Travel Writer
Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson


Author • Filmmaker
Gish Jen

Gish Jen


Cultural Commentator • Novelist • Essayist
Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones


Bestselling Author • Novelist
Hillary Jordan

Hillary Jordan


Bestselling Author • Novelist

Piper Kerman


Bestselling Author • Memoirist • Social Justice Advocate

Sue Monk Kidd


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist
Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author
Lily King

Lily King


Bestselling Author • Novelist

Laura Kipnis


Social Critic • Author • Essayist

Lisa Ko


Novelist • Essayist
Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Documentary Filmmaker

James Howard Kunstler


Urban Planning Advocate • Novelist • Social Critic • Journalist

The Lacks Family


The Lacks Family of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS
Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami


Novelist • Author • Essayist

Stephanie Land


Economic Justice Advocate • Bestselling Author • Journalist
Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Memoirist

Kiese Laymon


Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Women’s Advocate
Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Essayist
Anthony Marra

Anthony Marra


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Short Story Writer
Ayana Mathis

Ayana Mathis


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Essayist
Colum McCann

Colum McCann


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist
Jeremy McCarter

Jeremy McCarter


Cultural Historian • Bestselling Author
Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste


Novelist • Essayist • Social Justice Advocate
Emily Nussbaum

Emily Nussbaum


TV Critic • Pulitzer Prize Winner • Essayist
Téa Obreht

Téa Obreht


Bestselling Author • Novelist
Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Essayist
Jennifer Pastiloff

Jennifer Pastiloff


Bestselling Author • Memoirist • Mental Health Advocate
Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult


Bestselling Author • Novelist
Eli Saslow

Eli Saslow


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Journalist • Author
Lisa See

Lisa See


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Memoirist
Joshua Wolf Shenk

Joshua Wolf Shenk


Bestselling Author • Essayist • Curator
Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot


Bestselling Author • Journalist
Rachel Louise Snyder

Rachel Louise Snyder


Domestic Violence Advocate • Journalist • Author

Paul Theroux


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Travel Writer
Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson


Journalist • Author • Tech Industry Expert
Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett


Public Radio Show & Podcast Host • Bestselling Author • Social Entrepreneur
William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann


Novelist • Journalist • Short Story Writer

Jesmyn Ward


National Book Award Winner • Essayist • Memoirist
Edmund White

Edmund White


Novelist • Social Critic • Memoirist