Literary Conversations

Provocative Civil Discourse Inspired and Led by Writers

 

Our Literary Conversations bring together highly-acclaimed writers from all over the country to discuss the urgent issues that surround their work and let literature serve as a springboard for civil discourse. Over the past 35+ years, our literary programs have featured authors reading from their work and engaging in thrilling, thought-provoking conversations.

Authors who have joined us over the years have included:
Eudora Welty, Robert Stone, Ken Kesey, Amy Tan, Louise Erdrich, Tayari Jones, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Joan Didion, Michael Chabon, Luis Alberto Urrea, Jennifer Egan, Susan Choi, Isabel Allende, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Ta-Nehisi Coates, T.C. Boyle, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, and Emma Donoghue, among many others.

VOICES OF DC

VOICES OF DC

LITERARY CONVERSATIONSStorytellers have long been inspired by our city's rich past and present, elevating the voices of its citizens, exploring its landmarks and tucked-away corners, and imagining its future. We invite residents of DC to join three fantastic...

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More Literary Conversations

GUNS

GUNS

LITERARY CONVERSATIONSOur national conversation about guns is dominated by polarizing rhetoric. In literature, however, we find nuance and complex human stories about the impact of gun violence on American life. To explore those stories, please join us for GUNS, a...

CHOICE

CHOICE

Reproductive choice is the third rail of American politics, but novelists have the power to explore the subject with an openness and curiosity so often missing from the news cycle. Join three acclaimed writers—R.O. Kwon, Joanne Ramos, and Leni Zumas—in a conversation led by moderator Elisa Albert about representations of choice, access, contraception, personal autonomy, and abortion in their work on Wednesday, September 14, at 7 pm ET.

SPOKEN WORDS

SPOKEN WORDS

On April 14, 2022 we engaged with three critically acclaimed poets and spoken word artists Fatimah Asghar, Olivia Gatwood, Danez Smith, and moderator Nate Marshall.

This Literary Conversation included readings and performances by our featured authors and will be followed by a live Q&A with the audience. Live captioning will also be available for this event.

TRANSitional Writing

TRANSitional Writing

DATE | March 23, 2022 at 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

Join three acclaimed writers—Zeyn Joukhadar, Torrey Peters, and Neon Yang—in a conversation moderated by activist and author P. Carl about their books and trans representation in contemporary literature.

STORIED HISTORY

STORIED HISTORY

DATE | February 28, 2022 at 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

History isn’t fixed. It’s written and rewritten all the time as historians adopt contemporary perspectives on past events. Writers of historical fiction incorporate those new perspectives into their work, too, revealing new ideas and stories. Join three acclaimed historical novelists—Kaitlyn Greenidge, Jonathan Lee, and Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai—in a conversation moderated by author and PEN/Faulkner board member Bethanne Patrick about bringing fresh artistry to accurate portrayals of history.

INDIGENOUS

INDIGENOUS

DATE | Wed, November 17, 2021, 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

We engaged with Louise Erdrich, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Tommy Orange, who are among the most highly acclaimed Native writers of our time. Moderated by Margaret Verble, this discussion explored how their storytelling has been informed by their experiences as Indigenous people.

A recording and transcript is now available.

MONEY

MONEY

DATE | Wed, October 27, 2021, 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

Money affects every aspect of human behavior. Authors Kevin Kwan, Cherie Jones, and Mateo Askaripour, with moderator Rumaan Alam, will explore the depiction of money and global financial systems in their work and in contemporary literature.

SHADOW AND BONE

SHADOW AND BONE

DATE | Wed, September 22, 2021, 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

This fourth installment of Literature on Screen featured Leigh Bardugo, author of the best-selling book turned hit Netflix series, “Shadow and Bone.” Leigh was in conversation with Petra Mayer (NPR) to discuss the translation of her books to the hit Netflix series!

A recording and transcript of this event is now available!

CRISIS

CRISIS

DATE | April 19, 2021
LOCATION | Online Event

Crisis featured three novelists whose work is informed by the possibility of impending crisis.

T.C. Boyle (World’s End, The Terranauts), Jenny Offill (Weather, Dept. of Speculation), and Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death, Lagoon) were in conversation with moderator Sean Murphy (Founder & Executive Director, 1455).

The recording and transcript for this event is now available.

REFUGE

REFUGE

DATE | March 11, 2021 at 7pm ET
LOCATION | Online Event

Refuge featured authors who have explored topics of immigration, identity, and home in their work, at a time when these issues are especially urgent.

This insightful and challenging discussion of refuge and home featured authors Aleksandar Hemon (Nowhere Man, The Lazarus Project), Abdi Nor Iftin (Call Me American), Souvankham Thammavongsa (How to Pronounce Knife), and moderator Matthew Davis (Founding Director, Alan Cheuse International Writers Center). 

Catch the recording and transcript of this event now!

Literary Conversations

Provocative Civil Discourse Inspired and Led by Writers

 

VOICES OF DC

VOICES OF DC

LITERARY CONVERSATIONSStorytellers have long been inspired by our city's rich past and present, elevating the voices of its citizens, exploring its landmarks and tucked-away corners, and imagining its future. We invite residents of DC to join three fantastic...

read more

More Literary Conversations

CHOICE

CHOICE

Reproductive choice is the third rail of American politics, but novelists have the power to explore the subject with an openness and curiosity so often missing from the news cycle. Join three acclaimed writers—R.O. Kwon, Joanne Ramos, and Leni Zumas—in a conversation led by moderator Elisa Albert about representations of choice, access, contraception, personal autonomy, and abortion in their work on Wednesday, September 14, at 7 pm ET.

SPOKEN WORDS

SPOKEN WORDS

On April 14, 2022 we engaged with three critically acclaimed poets and spoken word artists Fatimah Asghar, Olivia Gatwood, Danez Smith, and moderator Nate Marshall.

This Literary Conversation included readings and performances by our featured authors and will be followed by a live Q&A with the audience. Live captioning will also be available for this event.

TRANSitional Writing

TRANSitional Writing

DATE | March 23, 2022 at 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Online Event

Join three acclaimed writers—Zeyn Joukhadar, Torrey Peters, and Neon Yang—in a conversation moderated by activist and author P. Carl about their books and trans representation in contemporary literature.

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