Education and Youth Advocacy
Katherine Boo
Bestselling Author │ Journalist │ Pulitzer Prize Winner

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo has devoted much of her career to writing about poverty here and abroad. Recipient of the 2012 National Book Award for Nonfiction, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and adapted for the stage by the National Theatre, Boo’s bestseller Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a gripping account of life in a Mumbai slum. A landmark work of narrative nonfiction, it tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the 21st century’s great, unequal cities. In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

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Stephen Elliott
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 The Rumpus, 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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Alice Goffman
Author │Urban Ethnographer │ Sociologist

Alice Goffman is a sociologist who grew up in Philadelphia and attended graduate school at Princeton. Her book On the Run draws on six years of in-depth fieldwork in Philadelphia and describes young men living as suspects and fugitives in an African American neighborhood torn apart by the war on drugs and unprecedented levels of targeted imprisonment. Dr. Cornel West calls the book “the best treatment I know of the wretched underside of neo-liberal capitalist America. Despite the social misery and fragmented relations, she gives us a subtle analysis and poignant portrait of our fellow citizens who struggle to preserve their sanity and dignity." Goffman speaks to audience around the country about the hidden cost of the US prison boom and the need for criminal justice reform.

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Alex Kotlowitz
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. 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” and was awarded the 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. A staff writer for The Wall Street Journal from 1984-1993, Kotlowitz 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 new book.

Selected Books: There are No Children Here, Never a City So Real

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Lewis Lapham
Journalist │ Social Critic │ Author

A legendary figure in American journalism, Lapham was editor of Harper’s Magazine for thirty years. He holds a National Magazine Award and was inducted into the Magazine Editors Hall of Fame in 2007. Driven by his conviction that we cannot fully understand our current times without a robust understanding of history, he left Harper’s in 2006 to found Lapham’s Quarterly, a magazine focused on the intersection of history, politics, and literature. A rabble-rouser of the first order, Lapham considers journalism as an essential ingredient in the democratic process, a tool for effecting change by provoking outrage and stimulating awareness.

Lapham has explored the socio-political sphere across many media - he is the author of over a dozen books, and wrote The American Ruling Class, a much-lauded documentary film that explores issues of power, class, and privilege in the United States. He hosted the long-running Bloomberg Radio series/podcast The World in Time, and two PBS series, America’s Century and Bookmark. Lapham is a frequent guest on several TV and radio programs including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he shares his expertise in history, literature, and current affairs. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Lapham lives in New York City.

Selected Books: Money and Class in America, Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and Stifling of Democracy, Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration

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Christopher Phillips
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).  He is a Network Fellow at Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics and the first Senior Fellow at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and is at work on his next novel, What to Expect When You’re Childing: A Philosophy of Human Flowering.

Selected Books: Constitution Café, Six Questions of Socrates, Socrates Café.

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Rebecca Skloot
Bestselling Author │ Journalist 

Skloot’s extraordinary debut, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, took more than a decade to research and write but has captivated readers from all walks of life, and has spent over four years on The New York Times bestseller list. Chosen as the best book of 2010 by more than 60 media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, People, and The New York Times, it is being translated into more than 25 languages and made into an HBO film produced by Oprah. In The Immortal Life, Skloot tells the story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Henrietta Lacks's cells—harvested without her knowledge or consent—contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life’s multi-layered approach raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America. Skloot is an award-winning journalist and science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many others. She is co-editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011 and has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW. She has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University. She is currently at work on a new book about the human-animal relationship.

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