Featured Speakers

Dr. Imani Perry

Dr. Imani Perry


Public Intellectual • Cultural Historian • Bestselling Author

In her books, including NAACP Image Award Nominated Breathe: A Letter to My Sons and her latest South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, Imani Perry reflects the beautiful and deeply complex history of Black thought, art, and imagination.

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Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood

Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood


Award-Winning Author • Curator • Social Justice Advocate

MacArthur “Genius” Nicole R. Fleetwood is a celebrated writer, cultural theorist, curator, and art critic. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration and curator of the widely-lauded traveling exhibition by the same name, featuring art made by people in prisons and works by nonincarcerated artists concerned with state repression, erasure and imprisonment.

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Casey Parks

Casey Parks


Journalist • Author

Casey Parks is the author of Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and Mystery (winner of the 2021 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation). She reports on gender and family issues for The Washington Post.

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Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson


Young People’s Poet Laureate • Bestselling Author

Jacqueline Woodson is one of the most acclaimed and significant working authors of books for both children and adults. Weaving together lyrical language and powerful imagery she creates stories that explore complex issues of race, class, gender, family, and history. Her more-than two dozen award-winning books for adults, children, and adolescents include her New York Times bestsellers Brown Girl Dreaming and Red at the Bone, and her Newbery Honor-Winning books After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way.

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Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby


Academy Award-nominated screenwriter • Bestselling Author • Memoirist

Nick Hornby is the author of the bestselling novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, as well as several works of nonfiction including the forthcoming Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius. Many of his books have been turned into successful films and TV series, and he has been Oscar-nominated twice, for his screenplays of An Education and Brooklyn. His ten-part, short-form TV series, State of the Union, directed by Stephen Frears, has recently been broadcast by the Sundance Channel and the BBC, and has won three Emmys.

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Dr. Danielle Allen

Dr. Danielle Allen


Political Theorist • Public Intellectual • Cultural Commentator

Harvard’s Dr. Danielle Allen is a political theorist widely known for her work on justice and citizenship. Troubled by the fact that so few Americans actually know what the Declaration of Independence says or how it affects them, the MacArthur “Genius” set out to explore the document with her students in Our Declaration, revealing that our nation’s founding text is not just a historical one but rather an animating force that can change the course of our everyday lives.

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Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Author • Cultural Commentator

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jackson is the author of Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, an essential addition to the national conversation about race and class, and the novel The Residue Years, a powerful reflection on poverty, addiction, and the redemptive power of reading and writing.

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Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon


Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist

Laymon is a Black southern writer and the author of Heavy: An American Memoir, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Long Division. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. 

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Margaret A. Burnham

Margaret A. Burnham


Civil Rights Attorney • Legal Scholar • Racial & Restorative Justice Advocate

Renowned civil rights attorney who in 1977 became the first female African American Judge in Massachusetts, Burnham is the founder of Northeastern’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and the author of By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners.

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Dr. Lerone A. Martin

Dr. Lerone A. Martin


Historian • Religious Scholar • Cultural Commentator

A historian of religion in the twentieth century Dr. Lerone A. Martin provide critical context for the forces of religion, politics, and race that have shaped the contemporary American political and social landscape. His next book, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover out in February 2023, will explore how Hoover’s FBI helped fuel white evangelical communities rise to power.

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Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller

Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller


Sociologist • Social Justice Advocate

Drawn from 15 years of research, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Reuben Jonathan Miller’s Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration explores the criminal justice system’s lingering effects on formerly incarcerated people and their families.

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The Lacks Family


The Lacks Family of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

Members of the Lacks Family from Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks have enthralled university and library audiences across the country talking about Henrietta Lacks’ continued legacy.

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Linda Villarosa

Linda Villarosa


Public Health Reporter • Journalist

Linda Villarosa, a contributing journalist for The New York Times Magazine, is the author of Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, a landmark book that tells the full story of racial health disparities in America by revealing the toll racism takes on individuals and public health.

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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

Brown Girl Dreaming

Praise for Brown Girl Dreaming

This is a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart. These are poems that will, for years to come, be stored in our bloodstream.

The New York Times

Five Days at Memorial

Praise for Five Days at Memorial

By reporting the depth of those gruesome hours in Memorial before the helicopters came, and giving weight to medical ethics as grounded in the law, Sheri Fink has written an unforgettable story. Five Days at Memorial is social reporting of the first rank.

The New York Times

Under the Skin

Praise for Under the Skin

This book is a gift, a map and a necessity, relevant for every reader who wants to understand their own time.

Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show

Dickens and Prince

Praise for Dickens and Prince

Smart, witty and weirdly convincing… Pop culture is political to Hornby. Beneath this latest book’s stocking-filler-light surface, you can sense a subtle sort of crusade. By pairing these two artists, he’s making a couple of implicit assertions — that Prince is as important as Dickens and that Dickens is as fun as Prince.

The Times (London)

A Long Way Gone

Praise for A Long Way Gone

Deeply moving, even uplifting…demands to be read.

People (Critic’s Choice, four stars)

Between Two Kingdoms

Praise for Between Two Kingdoms

This is a propulsive, soulful story of mourning and gratitude—and an intimate portrait of one woman’s sojourn in the wilderness between life and death.

Tara Westover, bestselling author of Educated

Long Division

Praise for Long Division

Smart and funny and sharp… I loved it.

Jesmyn Ward, two-time National Book Award winner for Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing

Orange Is The New Black

Praise for Orange Is The New Black

Fascinating…. The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.

People

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

Praise for Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

An important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review