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City Arts & Lectures


City Arts & Lectures

Andrea Elliott

Sun, 17 Oct 2021

Andrea Elliott is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and a former staff writer at The Miami Herald. In 2012, Elliott set out to report about what it was like to be an unhoused child in New York City. She met 11-year-old Dasani Coates, living in a shelter with her parents and seven siblings.  The conditions were unsurprisingly horrible, and the challenges faced by Dasani’s family enormous and multigenerational. Elliott followed Dasani and her family for eight years, and her book Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City, weaves together Dasani’s story - including her time at a boarding school designed to help disadvantaged girls escape poverty – with the history of Dasani’s family, tracing the passage of their ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. It’s the story of a fierce, resilient, and overburdened child – and the profound impacts of poverty and racism.  On October 5, 2021, Andrea Elliott spoke with Isabel Duffy about the book - what it took to write it and what she’d like readers to take from it.


Mary Roach

Sun, 10 Oct 2021

Mary Roach is the author of the books StiffSpookBonkGulpGrunt, and Packing for Mars, all of which bring her distinctly funny voice to popular science subjects. Her new book Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, combines little-known forensic science and conservation genetics, with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, trespassing squirrels, and more of “nature’s lawbreakers,” offering hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat. Roach has written for National Geographic, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.  On September 29, 2021, Mary Roach came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco for an on-stage conversation before a live audience with Malia Wollan, director of the UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship at the Graduate School of Journalism.


Karl Ove Knausgaard

Sun, 03 Oct 2021

Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard is best known for the autobiographical series “My Struggle.” The six volumes total more than 3,000 pages. And the books manage to be both epic and intimate. In them, Knausgaard meticulously catalogs the minor details of his daily life, like cleaning his father’s house and checking out books at the library.  He also tackles fundamental questions about existence -- laying bare his personal relationships and anxieties about family, career, and purpose. The stories move slowly and calmly and their effect on the reader can be almost hypnotic. On September 23, 2021, Karl Ove Knausgaard spoke to Judson True about his newest book, a novel called The Morning Star.


Colson Whitehead

Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Colson Whitehead is the only novelist to win a Pulitzer Prize for consecutive books: The Underground Railroad, now a television miniseries directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins, and The Nickel Boys. His novels span a wide range of genres, including satire (Apex Hides the Hurt), post-apocalyptic zombie horror (Zone One), and an autobiographical coming-of-age story (Sag Harbor, which is slated for an HBO adaptation produced by Laurence Fishburne). With his highly-anticipated new heist novel, Harlem Shuffle, Whitehead tries his hand at yet another literary category. On September 17, 2021, Colson Whitehead talked to Alexis Madrigal about his writing before an audience at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, the first live on-stage program for City Arts & Lectures since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Frances Moore Lappé

Sun, 19 Sep 2021

This week, we’ll hear from Frances Moore Lappé, whose groundbreaking book “Diet for a Small Planet” was controversial when it first came out in 1971.  World hunger was a major news topic and a genuine concern; many believed there simply wasn’t enough food to feed the planet.  But Lappé argued that hunger wasn’t caused by a scarcity of food, but a scarcity of power among those who go hungry.  She believed democracy – and a plant-centered diet – could solve the problem.  On September 9, 2021, Frances Moore Lappé spoke to her daughter, Anna Lappé, about what drove her to write the book, and what she’s learned in the intervening 50 years.  Anna Lappé is also an author and an advocate for sustainability and food justice.


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