When our survey asked for three adjectives that best describe the Ten Evenings lectures, the top responses were informative, interesting, and entertaining, followed by inspiring, enlightening, stimulating, educational, thought-provoking, engaging, and enjoyable. Other responses included insightful, surprising, motivating, eye-opening, timely, challenging, funny, and fun.
It is my privilege to present you with this year’s slate of critically acclaimed authors. Their poignant, relevant, deeply researched, and beautifully crafted works are bringing each one of them to the fore of the national and international cultural and literary arena.
We launch the season with literary icon Joyce Carol Oates, who returns to our stage for the first time since 1992. One of the world’s most eminent authors, she addresses themes in her work that include racism, classism, and sexual–political power dynamics.
Mexican–U.S. immigration is addressed in both fiction and nonfiction by Luis Alberto Urrea (The House of Broken Angels and The Devil’s Highway) and Valeria Luiselli (Tell Me How It Ends and her forthcoming Lost Children Archive).
Jill Lepore provides an investigation of our divided nation (These Truths), while the timely topic of Russia and Putin are discussed by journalist Masha Gessen (The Future is History). Katherine Boo humanizes inequality in Mumbai, India (Behind the Beautiful Forevers) while her current focus is poverty in Washington, D.C. Tayari Jones takes on questions of race, class, and incarceration in a fictional love story (An American Marriage) while Ottessa Moshfegh reveals a young woman’s shocking approach to mental health (My Year of Rest and Relaxation).
The war in Yemen, immigration, coffee, and entrepreneurism comprise the tale told by Dave Eggers who will appear with the subject of his book (The Monk of Mokha), Mokhtar Alkhanshali. And we’ll end our season with Min Jin Lee and her page-turning family saga (Pachinko), which portrays the lasting impact of Japanese colonialism and the long, vexed history of discrimination against Koreans in Japan.
There is certainly much to learn, contemplate, discuss, and be inspired by. Thank you for joining the Ten Evenings community of readers, writers, listeners, and thinkers as we engage with these important writers of our time.