Education and Youth Advocacy
Novelist │ Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus │ Youth Advocate
As a memoirist and novelist, Elliot is hard to categorize. Says BookList of his bestselling memoir, The Adderall Diaries: “With astute insights into anger, despair, drug use, sadomasochism, and the elusiveness of love and justice, Elliott is a poet of pain.” Novels like Happy Baby and A Life Without Consequences are rich with details from his own experience as a ward of the State of Illinois from the age of 13 to 18. As founding editor of the popular online culture magazine TheRumpus.Net, Elliott advocates for strong writing and diversified opinions. This same passion extends into politics with his humorous and insightful chronicle of the 2004 presidential primary, Looking Forward to It. Elliot is a frequent contributor to GQ, Esquire, The Village Voice, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, McSweeney’s, The Sun, and The Huffington Post.
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Bestselling Author │ Journalist │ Documentary Filmmaker
Award-winning journalist Alex Kotlowitz, lauded for his unflinching portrayal of race and poverty in America, is the author of the bestselling works of nonfiction There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River. He recently produced the critically-acclaimed documentary The Interrupters, with director Steve James (Hoop Dreams), which was inspired by an article Kotlowitz wrote about urban violence in Chicago for the New York Times Magazine in 2008. Hailed by A.O. Scott of the New York Times as one of the “must see” documentaries of 2011, The Interrupters was praised by the Miami Herald as “a heartbreaking, empowering documentary about inner-city violence.” The film was awarded the 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. A staff writer for the Wall Street Journal from 1984-1993, he remains an active journalist and is a regular contributor to National Public Radio (This American Life, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition) and the New York Times Magazine. He is currently working on a documentary on low-wage workers for Al Jazeera America.
Selected Books: There are No Children Here, Never a City So Real
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Bestselling Author │ Founder, Constitution & Socrates Cafés │ Social Entrepreneur
Christopher Phillips, the New York Times bestselling author of Socrates Café, Six Questions of Socrates, and Socrates in Love, has a passion for inquiry. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method, he reminds us that we ought to ask questions—as Socrates put it in Plato’s The Republic, “about the way one should live.” Phillips’s inquiries reveal surprising points of intersection between classical philosophy, modern life, and the intellectual richness of diverse societies. Energized by the initial optimism surrounding Obama’s presidency and concerned with the increasingly fierce nature of the partisanship infecting Congress, Phillips’s latest project is Constitution Café, an effort to engage everyday Americans in constructive dialogue and debate about the nature of our government, the meaning of citizenship, and our most important political documents. Phillips has taught at New York University and is the founder and executive director of the Constitution Café and the Society for Philosophical Inquiry (SPI).
–Los Angeles Times
Christopher Phillips has a passion for inquiry. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method, he reminds us that we ought to ask questions – “not about any chance question,” as Socrates put it in Plato’s Republic, “but about the way one should live.”
Selected Books: Constitution Café, Six Questions of Socrates, Socrates Café.
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Bestselling Author │ Journalist
Bestselling author Rebecca Skloot spent over ten years doggedly uncovering the truth about the life, death and ultimate "immortality" of a poor black tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. On a tumultuous educational path until a community college biology instructor utter the words "Henrietta Lacks," Skloot—with remarkable focus and tenacity—set off on a trajectory that would shine the national spotlight on both and become the phenomenal book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
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