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12 talks from authors
These well-known writers weave beautiful words on the page ... and on the stage.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The danger of a single story
18 minutes 49 seconds
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.
Confessions of a bad feminist
11 minutes 28 seconds
When writer Roxane Gay dubbed herself a "bad feminist," she was making a joke, acknowledging that she couldn't possibly live up to the demands for perfection of the feminist movement. But she's realized that the joke rang hollow. In a thoughtful and provocative talk, she asks us to embrace all flavors of feminism -- and make the small choices that, en masse, might lead to actual change.
Where is home?
14 minutes 1 second
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.
Tales of passion
Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism -- and, of course, passion -- in this talk.
The beauty of being a misfit
12 minutes 58 seconds
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."
Why a good book is a secret door
16 minutes 59 seconds
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.
Finding the story inside the painting
14 minutes 21 seconds
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."
Be an artist, right now!
16 minutes 57 seconds
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.
Where does creativity hide?
22 minutes 52 seconds
Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, looking for hints of how hers evolved.
The politics of fiction
19 minutes 45 seconds
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.
Karen Thompson Walker
What fear can teach us
11 minutes 30 seconds
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.