SVWC 2022 Presenters
Also joining us . . .
Arthur C. Brooks
A. Scott Berg
Admiral James Stavridis
Terry Tempest Williams
Albert R. Hunt
Also joining us . . .
(photos and full bios will be posted soon)
FLS+, Improv Comedy Hip-Hop Group
ERICH SCHWARTZEL is the author of Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy, published in February 2022 by Penguin Press. Red Carpet details China’s growing influence over the American film industry and the country’s efforts to mount its own soft-power campaign around the globe. Schwartzel is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where he has covered Hollywood since 2013. Prior to joining the Journal, he worked at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where his reporting on gas drilling across Appalachia won the Scripps Howard Award for Environmental Reporting. He grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and lives in Los Angeles with his partner.
Photo Credit: Leigh Keily
Alan Pesky is the founder of Lee Pesky Learning Center ( LPLC), a nonprofit that works together with students, families, and schools to understand and overcome obstacles to learning.
The Center was established in 1977 in memory of Wendy and Alan’s son Lee, who struggled with Learning disabilities and died of brain cancer at the age of thirty. Since its founding, Lee Pesky Learning Center has benefited over 100,000 children in Idaho. It’s also actively engaged in training the next generation of practitioners in special education and boosting early childhood literacy in the state. Through its research and partnerships with universities, scientists, and foundations, the Center makes significant contributions on a national level to advance the field of special education.
Alan was one of the founders of Scali, McCabe, Sloves, which was named Agency of the Year by Advertising Age in 1975 and acquired two years later by Ogilvy and Mather. He retired as President in 1983.
He and his wife Wendy are ardent supporters of education and humanitarian causes and were honored in 2005 as Outstanding Philanthropists of the year in Idaho. Alan has served as trustee of his alma maters, The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and Lafayette College.
YASCHA MOUNK is a writer, academic and public speaker known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy.
Born in Germany to Polish parents, Yascha received his BA in History from Trinity College, Cambridge, and his PhD in Government from Harvard University. He is now an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, where he holds appointments in both the School of Advanced International Studies and the Agora Institute. Yascha is also a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Founder of Persuasion.
Yascha has written three books: Stranger in My Own Country – A Jewish Family in Modern Germany, a memoir about Germany’s fraught attempts to deal with its past; The Age of Responsibility – Luck, Choice and the Welfare State, which argues that a growing obsession with the concept of individual responsibility has transformed western welfare states; and The People versus Democracy – Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, which explains the causes of the populist rise and investigates how to renew liberal democracy. His latest book has been translated into eleven languages, and hailed as one of 2018’s Best Books of the Year by multiple publications, including the Financial Times. Next to his work for The Atlantic, Yascha also occasionally writes for newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs. He is also a regular columnist or contributor for major international publications including Die Zeit, La Repubblica, l’Express, Folha de Sao Paolo, Kultura Liberalna, and Letras Libres.
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JUDITH FREEMAN is the author of five novels, including The Chinchilla Farm and Red Water and, most recently, MacArthur Park, as well as a collection of short stories, Family Attractions, a biography of Raymond Chandler, The Long Embrace, and a memoir, The Latter Days. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, as well as a Western Heritage Award, and has been a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford and the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas. Her essays and reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives with her husband, artist-photographer Anthony Hernandez, with whom she has collaborated on several projects, and divides her time between Idaho and Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Anthony Hernandez
ANTHONY DOERR is the author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. His novel Cloud Cuckoo Land was published on September 28, 2021 and is a finalist for the National Book Award. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
Photo Credit: Ulf Andersen
Arthur C. Brooks
ARTHUR C. BROOKS is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.- based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.
Brooks is the author of 12 books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller From Strength to Strength, and national bestsellers Love Your Enemies (2019) and The Conservative Heart (2015). He has also published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook Social Entrepreneurship (2008). He is a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast “How to Build a Happy Life,” and subject of the 2019 documentary film The Pursuit, which Variety named as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. He gives more than 100 speeches per year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Previously, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. Prior to his work in academia and public policy, he spent 12 years as a professional French hornist in the United States and Spain.
Brooks holds a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He also holds an M.A. in economics from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in economics from Thomas Edison State College.
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STEPHEN KOTKIN Stephen Kotkin is the Birkelund Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. He directs the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies and co-directs the Program in the History and Practice of Diplomacy. He is working on Stalin: Totalitarian Superpower, 1941-1990s, the final installment of a trilogy published by Penguin Press. He writes essays and reviews for Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, and the TLS, among other publications. For many years he was the book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section. He serves as a consultant on geopolitical risk, China, and Russia for institutional investors and financial firms.
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A. Scott Berg
A. SCOTT BERG is the author of five bestselling biographies, each the life story of a 20th-century American cultural icon. MAX PERKINS: EDITOR OF GENIUS won the National Book Award and served as the source for the 2016 feature film “Genius”; GOLDWYN: A BIOGRAPHY received a Guggenheim Fellowship; LINDBERGH won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for biography; and WILSON received several history prizes and garnered wide praise for its intimate and authoritative portrayal of America’s 28th president. In 2003, Berg published KATE REMEMBERED, a biographical memoir that recounted his 20 years as a friend and confidant of Katharine Hepburn; it became the #1 New York Times bestseller for most of that summer. He serves on the board of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and as a Trustee Emeritus of Princeton University and as a Life Trustee of the Library of America, for which he edited and wrote the introduction and headnotes for the anthology WORLD WAR I AND AMERICA: TOLD BY THE AMERICANS WHO LIVED IT. He is currently writing a biography of Thurgood Marshall.
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OCEAN VUONG is the author of The New York Times best-selling novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant. He is also the author of the award-winning poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, and winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, other honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. Vuong’s writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Granta, Harpers, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.
RITA DOVE was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she attended Miami University of Ohio, Universität Tübingen in Germany, and the University of Iowa, where she earned her creative writing MFA in 1977. In 1987 she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poetry, Thomas and Beulah, and from 1993 to 1995 she served as U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress. Author of a novel, a book of short stories, essays, and eleven volumes of poetry, she also edited The Best American Poetry 2000 and The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry (2011), as well as weekly poetry columns for The Washington Post from 2000 to 2003 and The New York Times Magazine from 2018 to2019. Her drama The Darker Face of the Earth opened at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996 and the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1997, followed by its European premiere at the Royal National Theatre in London in 1999. Her song cycle Seven for Luck, 7 poems with music by John Williams, was premiered by Cynthia Haymon with the Boston Symphony in 1998, and her song cycle A Standing Witness, 14 poems with music by Richard Danielpour, was originally sung by Susan Graham at the Kennedy Center and other venues in 2021. Also in 2021 W.W. Norton published Rita Dove’s latest volume of poems, Playlist for the Apocalypse.
Dove’s numerous honors include Lifetime Achievement Medals from the Library of Virginia and the Fulbright Association, the 2019 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the 2021 Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as the sixteenth (and third female and first African-American) poet in the Medal’s 110-year history. In 1996, she received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and, in 2011, the National Medal of Arts from President Obama—making her the only poet ever to receive both medals. To date, 28 honorary doctorates have been conferred upon Ms. Dove, most recently by Yale University, Emory University, Smith College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. She has served as president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), as a chancellor of Phi Beta Kappa and as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. A member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she teaches at the University of Virginia, where she is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.
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SANAË LEMOINE is the author of The Margot Affair and a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow. Born in Paris to a Japanese mother and French father, she was raised in France and Australia. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in fiction at Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn.
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KATHRYN SCHULZ is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Lost & Found, forthcoming from Random House in January of 2022. She won a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for “The Really Big One,” an article about seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Lost & Found grew out of “Losing Streak,” which was originally published in The New Yorker and later anthologized in The Best American Essays. Her other essays and reporting have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Food Writing. She is also the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. A native of Ohio, she lives with her family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
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ALEXANDER MAKSIK is the author of four novels: You Deserve Nothing, a New York Times and IndieBound bestseller; A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a finalist for the William Saroyan Prize and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; Shelter in Place, named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian and the San Francisco Chronicle and The Long Corner, which will be published in May of 2022.
Maksik’s writing has appeared in many publications including Harper’s, The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Sewanee Review, Harvard Review, New York Times Book Review, Condé Nast Traveler (where for several years he was a contributing editor) and The Atlantic, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize and the Andrew Lytle Prize, as well as fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust and the Corporation of Yaddo.
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Admiral James Stavridis
ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS is Vice Chair, Global Affairs of The Carlyle Group and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation, following five years as the 12th Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. A retired 4-star officer in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander with responsibility for Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, Syria, counter piracy, and cyber security. He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006-2009. He earned more than 50 medals, including 28 from foreign nations in his 37-year military career.
Earlier in his military career he commanded the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet, winning the Battenberg Cup, as well as a squadron of destroyers and a carrier strike group – all in combat. In 2016, he was vetted for Vice President by Hillary Clinton and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position in the Trump Administration.
Admiral Stavridis earned a PhD in international relations and has published eleven books and hundreds of articles in leading journals around the world, including the recent novel 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, which was a New York Times bestseller and The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea. His 2012 TED talk on global security has close to one million views. Admiral Stavridis is a contributing editor for TIME Magazine and Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News.
BEN RHODES is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. He is currently co-host of Pod Save the World, a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama, and chair of National Security Action. From 2009-2017, Ben served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions and oversaw the President’s national security communications and speechwriting. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made, and The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House. His work has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Affairs. A native New Yorker, Ben has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A. from New York University.
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Terry Tempest Williams
TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS is a conservationist, an advocate for free speech, and the author of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family & Place and Finding Beauty in a Broken World.
Terry Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. “So here is my question,” she asks, “what might a different kind of power look like, feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably even beyond our own species?”
Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda.
Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert; The Open Space of Democracy; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds. She is a columnist for the magazine The Progressive. She also wrote The Story of My Heart by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams, in which she and Brooke Williams expand upon the 1883 book by Richard Jeffries. Her book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, honored the centennial of the National Park Service, was a New York Times bestseller, and also won the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association 2016 Reading the West Book Award. Her most recent book is Erosion: Essays of Undoing, a collection of wide-ranging essays that explore the many forms of erosion we face: of democracy, science, compassion, and trust.
In 2006, Williams received the Rober t Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction. In 2009, Terry Tempest Williams was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS series on the national parks. In 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Ms. Williams received the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation. Williams also received the 2017 Audubon New York Award for Environmental Writing. In 2019 Terry Tempest Williams was given The Rober t Kirsch Award, a lifetime achievement prize given to a writer with a substantial connection to the American West and was also elected as a member into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Williams has served as the Annie Clark Tanner Fellow in the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Graduate Program which she co-founded in 2004; and was the Provostial Scholar at Dar tmouth College, serving as a Montgomery Fellow twice. Williams is currently writer-in-residence at the Harvard Divinity School. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change. She divides her time between Castle Valley, Utah, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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NATASHA TRETHEWEY served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of five collections of poetry, Monument (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the memoir Memorial Drive (2020). Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Northwestern University she is a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is Anchor and Managing Editor of PBS NewsHour. She has covered politics and other news for over four decades at NBC, CNN, and PBS.
Judy was with NBC News from 1977 – 1983; including her time as White House correspondent and then chief Washington correspondent for The Today Show. She then joined PBS as Chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and anchored PBS’ award-winning docuseries “Frontline with Judy Woodruff” from 1984-1990.
She joined CNN in 1993 as a senior correspondent and anchor for the weekday program “Inside Politics.” She returned to the NewsHour in 2007. In 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill became the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death in 2016, Woodruff was named sole anchor.
Judy is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation and a recipient of over 25 honorary degrees and numerous awards. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.
Noah Feldman is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law. He is the Chairman of the Society of Fellows, a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a contributing writer for the Bloomberg View. Feldman served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on drafting the Transitional Administrative Law or interim constitution. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a DPhil in Islamic Thought from Oxford University and a JD from Yale Law School. Feldman is the author of nine books, including Arab Winter: A Tragedy; The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President; and his newest book, The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America.
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Albert R. Hunt
Albert R. Hunt ran the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal and then Bloomberg News; for a quarter-century he has written a column about American politics, and was a mainstay on public affairs television programs.
After graduating from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Political Science, he went to work for The Wall Street Journal in New York, Boston and Washington. He covered economics, Congress and national politics. For ten years he was Washington bureau chief for the paper and then Executive Washington Editor. He was President of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, a director of the Ottaway Community Newspaper board and, for more than eleven years, wrote a weekly Wall Street Journal column, “People and Politics.”
In 2005 Hunt joined Bloomberg News where he ran the Washington bureau and directed political coverage as Executive Editor, Washington. He wrote a weekly column on politics for the International Herald Tribune/International New York Times. Starting in 2013 he was a Bloomberg View columnist.
Hunt has been a panelist on numerous public affairs television programs, starting with PBS’ Washington Week in Review and later, programs on CBS and NBC. For 16 years he was a regular on CNN’s “Capital Gang.” From 2006 to 2014 he hosted a public affairs interview program on Bloomberg Television, “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” He currently teaches a course on the press and politics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hunt was awarded he National Press Foundation’s distinguished citation; is a recipient of a Raymond Clapper award for Washington reporting, the William Allen White award for outstanding journalistic service, and, with his wife, Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour, the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. He has been chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library’s Profile in Courage Committee, and a trustee of Wake Forest University.
Woodruff and Hunt live in Washington, D.C., and have three children.
HEATHER MCGHEE’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?
McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Mississippi to California to Maine, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.
But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own.
The Sum of Us is a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal. McGhee marshals economic and sociological research to paint an irrefutable story of racism’s costs, but at the heart of the book are the humble stories of people yearning to be part of a better America, including white supremacy’s collateral victims: white people themselves. With startling empathy, this heartfelt message from a Black woman to a multiracial America leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than zero-sum.
REBECCA DONNER is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, a stunning work of deeply researched nonfiction about her great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack, an American graduate student who became a leader of the largest underground resistance group in Berlin during Hitler’s regime.
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award. It was selected as a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2021, a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Editors’ choice, and was named one of the best books of 2021 by the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, and The Economist. It has received high praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird (“A stunning literary achievement”), NBCC-award winning biographer Ruth Franklin (“Epic in sweep, written with a novelist’s attention to detail and a historian’s perspective on social and political forces”), and The New Yorker literary critic James Wood (“Donner’s story reads with the speed of a thriller, the depth of a novel, and the urgency of an essay, like some deeply compelling blend of Alan Furst and W.G. Sebald”).
In 2022, Rebecca Donner was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship for her work. She was a 2018-19 fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York, is a two-time Yaddo fellow, and has twice been awarded fellowships by Ucross Foundation. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is her third book; she is also the author of two critically acclaimed works of fiction. She has taught at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.
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SEBASTIAN MALLABY is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mallaby contributes to a variety of publications, including Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times, where he spent two years as a contributing editor. He is the author of five books, most recently The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future.
Mallaby’s interests cover a wide variety of domestic and international issues, including central banks, financial markets, the implications of the rise of newly emerging powers, and the intersection of economics and international relations. His previous book, The Man Who Knew: The Life & Times of Alan Greenspan, winner of the 2016 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and the 2017 George S. Eccles Prize in Economic Writing. More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, was described by New York Times columnist David Brooks as “superb”; it was the recipient of the 2011 Loeb Prize. Mallaby’s earlier works are The World’s Banker, a portrait of the World Bank under James Wolfensohn that was named as an “Editor’s Choice” by the New York Times; and After Apartheid, which was named by the New York Times as a “Notable Book.” An essay in the Financial Times said of The World’s Banker, “Mallaby’s book may well be the most hilarious depiction of a big organization and its controversial boss since Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker.”
Before joining CFR, Mallaby served eight years as a columnist and editorial board member at The Washington Post and spent thirteen years with The Economist. While at The Economist, he worked in London, where he wrote about foreign policy and international finance; in Africa, where he covered Nelson Mandela’s release and the collapse of apartheid; and in Japan, where he covered the breakdown of the country’s political and economic consensus. Between 1997 and 1999, Mallaby was The Economist’s Washington bureau chief and wrote the magazine’s weekly Lexington column on American politics and foreign policy. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: once for editorials on Darfur and once for a series on economic inequality. In 2015, he helped to found a startup, InFacts.org, a web publication making the fact-based case for Britain to remain in the European Union.
Mallaby was educated at Oxford, graduating in 1986 with a first class degree in modern history. After 18 years in Washington, DC, he moved to London in 2014, where he lives with his wife, Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor in chief of The Economist.
LAUREN GROFF is the author of six books of fiction, the most recent the novel Matrix (September 2021). Her work has won The Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award, and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne, was a three-time finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Kirkus Prize, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Prize, the Southern Book Prize,and the Los Angeles Times Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into over 30 languages. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
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IMBOLO MBUE is the author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. The novel has been translated into eleven languages, adapted into an opera and a stage play, and optioned for a miniseries.
Her new novel, How Beautiful We Were, is about what happened when a fictional African village decided to fight against an American oil company that had been polluting its land for many years.
A native of Limbe, Cameroon, Mbue lives in New York.
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KALANI PICKHART is the recipient of research fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. She is the author of the novel, I Will Die in a Foreign Land. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
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BARBARA ASCHER is the author of five nonfiction books: Playing After Dark; The Habit of Loving; Landscape without Gravity; Dancing in the Dark; Romance, Yearning, and the Search for the Sublime. Her most recent is Ghosting: A Widow’s Voyage Out. She has been a columnist for The New York Times and Elle Magazine (on ethics), and is a frequent contributor to many newspapers and journals. She was Editorial Director of Delphinium Books.
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Jeffrey Brown is an award-winning senior correspondent and chief arts correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, public television’s national nightly newscast. In his more than 30 years with the program, he has served as co-anchor, studio moderator, and field reporter on a wide range of national and international issues, with work taking him around the country and to numerous parts of the globe. Brown has profiled many of the world’s leading writers, musicians, actors, and other artists. A poet, Brown is author of the collection, The News.
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GEOFF DYER is the author of many books including the novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, But Beautiful (about jazz), Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, Zona (about Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker) and, most recently, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy (on the film Where Eagles Dare). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. His books have won numerous prizes and have been translated into 24 languages. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California.
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EVAN OSNOS is a staff writer at The New Yorker, a CNN contributor, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Based in Washington D.C., he writes about politics and foreign affairs.
He was the China Correspondent at The New Yorker from 2008 to 2013. His first book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, won the 2014 National Book award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2020, he published the international bestseller, Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now, based on interviews with Biden, Barack Obama, and others. His latest book, Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury, was published in September 2021.
Prior to The New Yorker, Osnos worked as the Beijing bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, where he contributed to a series that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. Before his appointment in China, he worked in the Middle East, reporting mostly from Iraq. He and his wife, Sarabeth Berman, have two children.
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KALI FAJARDO-ANSTINE is a National Book Award Finalist for her debut story collection, Sabrina & Corina. Drawing from her Southern Colorado heritage and life experiences living across the American West, Fajardo-Anstine’s writing and lectures reflect her own heritage as a Colorado Chicana with roots in Indigenous, Latina, and Filipino cultures. In rousing talks that challenge the status quo, Fajardo-Anstine speaks about her racial and familial identity, the systems in our society that hold back marginalized people, and the craft of writing about and researching one’s cultural roots.
In Sabrina & Corina, Fajardo-Anstine puts Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West at the center of each story. Her words serve as a powerful meditation on friendships, identity, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado, the women in these stories navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.
In addition to being a finalist for the National Book Award, Sabrina & Corina was also a finalist for the Story Prize, a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, and the winner of the American Book Award. The collection was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal, and the American Library Association named it a 2020 Notable Book.
Woman of Light (June 2022), Fajardo-Anstine’s forthcoming first novel, is a dazzling epic of betrayal, love, and fate that spans five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West. Hailed as a “cinematic, epic story” by Mira Jacob, it has been named one of the most anticipated books of 2022 by The Millions, Electric Lit, Lit Hub, and Book Riot.
Fajardo-Anstine’s deep love of bookstores led her to work as a bookseller for over a decade at West Side Books in North Denver. Her work has been honored with the Denver Mayor’s Award for Global Impact in the Arts and the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Award. She has been edited and mentored by writers like Mat Johnson, Joy Williams, and Ann Beattie. She also received the 2021 Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In addition to Sabrina & Corina, Fajardo-Anstine’s stories and essays have appeared in GAY Magazine, The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Southwestern American Literature, Electric Literature, and more. Fajardo-Anstine has attended residencies at Yaddo, where she was the 2017 recipient of The LeSage-Fullilove Residency, Hedgebrook, and MacDowell Colony.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine earned her MFA from the University of Wyoming and has lived across the country, from Durango, Colorado, to Key West, Florida. She is the 2022/23 Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at Texas State University.
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ELIZABETH KOLBERT traveled from Alaska to Greenland, and visited top scientists, to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. Her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, a book about mass extinctions that weaves intellectual and natural history with reporting in the field began as an article in The New Yorker. It was a New York Times 2014 Top Ten Best Book of the Year and is number one on the Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of all time.
The Sixth Extinction also won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle awards for the best books of 2014. In 2019, it was the chosen book for the Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago program, and was also named as one of Slate’s 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years. Her new book is Under a White Sky:The Nature of the Future (Random House, February 9, 2021).
Growing out of a groundbreaking three-part series in The New Yorker (which won the 2006 National Magazine Award in the category Public Interest), Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change brings the environment into the consciousness of the American people and asks what, if anything, can be done, and how we can save our planet. She explains the science and the studies, draws frightening parallels to lost ancient civilizations, unpacks the politics, and presents the personal tales of those who are being affected most—the people who make their homes near the poles and, in an eerie foreshadowing, are watching their worlds disappear. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year (2006) by The New York Times Book Review.
Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1999. She has written dozens of pieces for the magazine, including profiles of Senator Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Her series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” appeared in The New Yorker in the spring of 2005 and won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine award. Also in 2006, she received the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award in the newspaper/magazine category and was awarded a Lannan Writing Fellowship. In September 2010, Kolbert received the prestigious Heinz Award which recognizes individuals who are addressing global change caused by the impact of human activities and natural processes on the environment. She also won a National Magazine Award in the Reviews and Criticism category for her work in The New Yorker, the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award, and the Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism from the American Geophysical Union. In 2016 she was named the 12th Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters at Bucknell University. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. In 2017 she received the Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s stories have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Mother Jones, and have been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best American Political Writing. She edited The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009. A collection of her work, The Prophet of Love and Other Tales of Power and Deceit, was published in 2004. Prior to joining the staff of The New Yorker, Kolbert was a political reporter for The New York Times.
Photo Credit: Nicholas Whitman