playlist

11 talks from authors

These well-known writers weave beautiful words on the page … and on the stage.

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  1. 18:49
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The danger of a single story

    Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

  2. 14:01
    Pico Iyer Where is home?

    More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer — who himself has three or four “origins” — meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.

  3. 18:00
    Isabel Allende Tales of passion

    Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism — and, of course, passion — in this talk.

  4. 12:58
    Lidia Yuknavitch The beauty of being a misfit

    To those who feel like they don't belong: there is beauty in being a misfit. Author Lidia Yuknavitch shares her own wayward journey in an intimate recollection of patchwork stories about loss, shame and the slow process of self-acceptance. "Even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful," she says. "You don't know it yet, but you have the ability to reinvent yourself endlessly. That's your beauty."

  5. 16:59
    Mac Barnett Why a good book is a secret door

    Childhood is surreal. Why shouldn't children's books be? In this whimsical talk, award-winning author Mac Barnett speaks about writing that escapes the page, art as a doorway to wonder — and what real kids say to a fictional whale.

  6. 14:21
    Tracy Chevalier Finding the story inside the painting

    When Tracy Chevalier looks at paintings, she imagines the stories behind them: How did the painter meet his model? What would explain that look in her eye? Why is that man ... blushing? She shares three stories inspired by portraits, including the one that led to her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."

  7. 16:57
    Young-ha Kim Be an artist, right now!

    Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world's greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child — the artist who wanted to play forever.

  8. 22:52
    Amy Tan Where does creativity hide?

    Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, looking for hints of how hers evolved.

  9. 19:45
    Elif Shafak The politics of fiction

    Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.

  10. 11:30
    Karen Thompson Walker What fear can teach us

    Imagine you're a shipwrecked sailor adrift in the enormous Pacific. You can choose one of three directions and save yourself and your shipmates — but each choice comes with a fearful consequence too. How do you choose? In telling the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker shows how fear propels imagination, as it forces us to imagine the possible futures and how to cope with them.

  11. 7:18
    Elizabeth Gilbert Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

    Elizabeth Gilbert was once an "unpublished diner waitress," devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.