Featured Speakers

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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Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist

“Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins Since the publication of his first story collection, The Shell Collector, in 2002, Anthony […]

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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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Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan


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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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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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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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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Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot


Bestselling Author • Journalist

Bestselling author Rebecca Skloot spent more than ten years doggedly uncovering the truth about the life, death, and ultimate “immortality” of a poor Black tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. Her phenomenal book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has sold nearly 3 million copies to date. In The Immortal Life, Skloot tells the story of a young […]

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Sheri Fink

Sheri Fink


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for journalism and a National Magazine Award, Sheri Fink is the author of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. The book is a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital during Hurricane Katrina, and a suspenseful portrayal of the pursuit of justice […]

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Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Essayist

New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean has been called “a national treasure” by The Washington Post. Her deeply moving explorations of American stories both familiar and obscure have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as […]

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The Lacks Family


The Lacks Family of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

The Lacks family has enthralled audiences across the country by talking about their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Henrietta Lacks, and her transcendentally important contributions to science. The international success of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, has left people keenly interested in the Lacks family and Henrietta’s legacy. In their appearances, the family shares with audiences […]

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Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author

“A lot of the job of a person trying to write stories that are true is to make what’s true believable. It isn’t enough to say, well, it actually happened. You have to make it believable on the page; you have to bring people to life and scenes to life.”

—Tracy Kidder

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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
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


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


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
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


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


Novelist • Essayist • Social Justice Advocate
Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean


Bestselling Author • Journalist • Essayist
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

Elizabeth Strout


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist

Paul Theroux


Bestselling Author • Novelist • Travel Writer
Clive Thompson

Clive Thompson


Journalist • Author • Tech Industry Expert
Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett


Public Radio Show Host • Journalist • Author
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