Five Things
I’ve Learned

Live, essential lessons from a lifetime of learning.

Conversation

Saturday, September 12th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about living during the COVID-19 crisis.

Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, before graduating in 1997.

Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards (Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer). It was also shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award.

Conversation

Sunday, September 13th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about finding her voice.

Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her videos, performances, and web-based projects have been presented at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and in two Whitney Biennials. July wrote, directed and starred in Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Caméra d’or. Me and You and Everyone We Know has been released as a BluRay/DVD by the Criterion Collection. In 2011 she wrote, directed and starred in The Future. She also co-starred in Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline. In 2019 July directed the Sleater-Kinney video for ‘Hurry On Home.’

Workshop

Saturday, September 19th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about living with addiction.

David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, a number-one New York Times bestseller. The book was based on his article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won a special award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.” Beautiful Boy, published in a dozen languages, was named the year’s Best Nonfiction Book by Entertainment Weekly, an Amazon “Best Books of 2008,” and it won first place in the Barnes and Noble Discover Award in nonfiction. In 2009, David was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People.

Conversation

Sunday, September 20th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about the American Revolutionary War.

Sarah Vowell is the New York Times’ bestselling author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. By examining the connections between the American past and present, she offers personal, often humorous accounts of everything from presidents and their assassins to colonial religious fanatics, as well as thoughts on American Indians, utopian dreamers, pop music and the odd cranky cartographer. Her most recent book is entitled Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.

Vowell’s book, Unfamiliar Fishes is the intriguing history of our 50th state, Hawaii, annexed in 1898.

Workshop

Saturday, September 26th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

share the five things they’ve learned about girls standing on lawns.

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, We Are Pirates, and All the Dirty Parts. He also wrote with Maira Kalman, Why We Broke Up, which won the Michael J. Printz Honor. Additionally he worked with Kalman on the books Girls Standing on Lawns, Hurry Up and Wait, and Weather Weather. Handler also edited The Best Nonrequired Reading of 2014, which includes an introduction by Lemony Snicket.

Maira Kalman’s illustrations give the impression of someone as alive to the wonders and amusements of the world as a small child. This has always been Kalman’s gift: to find the peculiar in the ordinary and to imagine the dramatic inner lives of people she passes on the street, in the park, in a museum. An illustrator, author, and designer, Kalman is perpetually drawn to multi-faceted projects where the thread of connection is a sense of wonder, humor, and beauty.

Workshop

Sunday, September 27th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about drama and the theater.

Hiton Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for ‘The Talk of the Town,’ he became a staff writer in 1994, theatre critic in 2002, and lead theater critic in 2012. Week after week, he brings to the magazine a rigorous, sharp, and lyrical perspective on acting, playwriting, and directing. With his deep knowledge of the history of performance—not only in theatre but in dance, music, and visual art—he shows us how to view a production and how to place its director, its author, and its performers in the ongoing continuum of dramatic art. His reviews are not simply reviews; they are provocative contributions to the discourse on theatre, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America. He is currently working on a new book titled I Don’t Remember (Penguin, early 2021), a book length essay on his experiences in AIDS era.

Workshop

Saturday, October 3rd
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about reading Homer’s Odyssey.

Robert Pinsky’s first two terms as United States Poet Laureate were marked by such visible dynamism, and such national enthusiasm in response, that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term. Throughout his career, Pinsky has been dedicated to identifying and invigorating poetry’s place in the world.

As Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans — of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state — shared their favorite poems. The project’s videos, giving voice to the American audience for poetry, demonstrates that, contrary to stereotype, poetry had a vigorous presence in the American cultural landscape.

Workshop

Sunday, October 4th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about telling a good story.

Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, a public radio program broadcast on 524 stations across the nation and downloaded more than 9 million times a month as a podcast. Most days, Radiolab is the 2nd most popular podcast, just behind This American Life.

Jad Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films, and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs.

In 2002, Abumrad began tinkering with an idea for a new kind of radio program, an open-ended radio “laboratory.”

Conversation

Saturday, October 10th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about the hidden personal consequences of systemic racism.

Alexandra Fuller’s debut book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, was an award-winning memoir of her childhood in Africa. It was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense Best Non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian’s First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Her second memoir, the New York Times Best Selling, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, is a prequel/sequel to Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. Her memoir Leaving Before the Rains Come, is about her marriage and divorce. Her newest book is a memoir of her father titled Travel Light, Move Fast (August 6, 2019, Penguin Press). In 2004 she wrote Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier which won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage.

Workshop

Sunday, October 11th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about not doing what you’re supposed to do.

There is no more versatile and accomplished American writer than Joyce Carol Oates. The author of many books, Oates has penned bestselling novels, critically acclaimed collections of short fiction, as well as essays, plays, poetry, a memoir, A Widow’s Story, and an unlikely bestseller, On Boxing. Her remarkable literary industry – which includes work as an editor and anthologist – spans forms, themes, topics and genres. Writing in The Nation, critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. said, “A future archeologist equipped only with her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America.” In 2010, reflecting the widespread esteem in which her work is held, President Barack Obama awarded Oates the National Humanities Medal.

Conference

Saturday, October 17th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

share the five things they’ve learned about reading and writing a good poem.

Tracy K. Smith received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her third book of poems, Life on Mars. The collection draws upon the genre of science fiction in considering who we humans are and what the vast universe holds for us. In poems of political urgency, tenderness, elegy and wit, Smith conjures version upon version of the future, imagines the afterlife, and contemplates life here on earth in our institutions, cities, houses and hearts.

Kevin Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, recently named a National Historic Landmark, and poetry editor of The New Yorker, where he hosts the poetry podcast.

Conversation

Sunday, October 18th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about staying home.

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. He is the master of satire and one of today’s most observant writers addressing the human condition. Calypso, his latest collection of essays, is a New York Times best-seller, and a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. The audiobook of Calypso was nominated for a 2019 Grammy in the Best Spoken Word Album category.

Workshop

Saturday, October 24th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things he’s learned about the photos of Gary Winogrand.

Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; two collections of essays, Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room; and five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful, The Missing of the Somme, Out of Sheer Rage, Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, and The Ongoing Moment.

His book, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition – a selection of essays from Anglo-English Attitudes and Working the Room – was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle award for Criticism. His book, Zona, about Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, was published in the US in Spring 2012.

Conversation

Sunday, October 25th
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about being a good listener.

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you’re bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air’s interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by host and co-executive producer Terry Gross’ unique approach. “A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence,” the San Francisco Chronicle says.

Gross, who has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in Greater Philadelphia, isn’t afraid to ask tough questions. But Gross sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrendering them.

Workshop

Saturday, October 31st
2:00pm est/11:00am pst

shares the five things she’s learned about crafting the perfect dinner.

Ina Garten, the celebrated specialty food store maven and bestselling cookbook author, was once a nuclear budget analyst at President Carter’s White House. Garten left Washington, DC in 1978 to buy a 400 sq. ft. store called Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons – eighteen years later, Barefoot Contessa had grown to a 3,000 sq. ft. store in East Hampton, New York and Garten decided it was time to shake things up. She sold the store to her chef and manager and began to write cookbooks.

Ina Garten’s first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, was published in 1999 and was one of the best selling cookbooks of the year.