playlist

The power of fiction

These talks analyze the ways a story can enhance, alter and transform how we see the world around us.

  1. 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.

  2. 17:36
    Chris Abani Telling stories from Africa

    In this deeply personal talk, Nigerian writer Chris Abani says that “what we know about how to be who we are” comes from stories. He searches for the heart of Africa through its poems and narrative, including his own.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 19:16
    Andrew Stanton The clues to a great story

    Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning. (Contains graphic language ...)

  6. 6:16
    Lisa Bu How books can open your mind

    What happens when a dream you've held since childhood … doesn't come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to reading in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.

  7. 13:12
    Beeban Kidron The shared wonder of film

    Movies have the power to create a shared narrative experience and to shape memories and worldviews. British film director Beeban Kidron invokes iconic film scenes — from Miracle in Milan to Boyz n the Hood — as she shows how her group FILMCLUB shares great films with kids.

  8. 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."

  9. 11:55
    Andrew Fitzgerald Adventures in Twitter fiction

    In the 1930s, broadcast radio introduced an entirely new form of storytelling; today, micro-blogging platforms like Twitter are changing the scene again. Andrew Fitzgerald takes a look at the (aptly) short but fascinating history of new forms of creative experimentation in fiction and storytelling.

  10. 5:24
    Jarrett Krosoczka Why lunch ladies are heroes

    Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka shares the origins of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which undercover school heroes serve lunch…and justice! His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria lunch staff provide more than food, and illustrates how powerful a thank you can be.