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Nonfiction [clear filter]
Friday, October 18

7:30pm EDT

Kickoff Keynote
Samantha Power’s life has all the ingredients of a great movie: Irish émigré, war correspondent, academic, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Special Assistant to President Obama on the National Security Council, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations. For Power, the driving force of her interests and her ambition has been the desire to extend basic human rights to all. In her revelatory memoir, The Education of an Idealist, Power tackles the question, “What can one person do?” with deeply personal insight and honesty. As Colm Tóibín wrote, hers is the story of political power but also of its limitations in the corridors of power, “where compromise does battle with commitment.” Come hear how this impressive and powerful woman grappled with idealism, realpolitik, and motherhood all at the same time. Nicco Mele, journalist, Kennedy School faculty member, political strategist, and poetry enthusiast, will discuss idealism with Samantha Power in what is sure to be an inspiring and entertaining way to kick off BBF 2019.

This event is free admission and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets are required.

avatar for Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele is an academic, writer, and businessman. He lectures on public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is a renowned forecaster of business, politics, and culture. His firm, EchoDitto, is a leading internet strategy company working with nonprofits and Fortune... Read More →

avatar for Samantha Power

Samantha Power

Samantha Power is the former US permanent representative to the United Nations (2013–2017) and former member of President Obama’s cabinet. Her books include A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2002), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics... Read More →

Friday October 18, 2019 7:30pm - 8:30pm EDT
Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116
Saturday, October 19

11:00am EDT

Reconsidering Appalachia
If you’ve read Hillbilly Elegy and think you know everything you need to know about Appalachia, come to this session for a very different perspective. We are joined by Chelsea Jack and Meredith McCarroll, both contributors to the anthology Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, which is critical of Hillbilly Elegy for being “anti-intellectual, overly anecdotal, and attempting to revitalize widely discredited ‘culture of poverty’ explanations for persistent inequities.” Our third panelist is Madeline ffitch, author of Stay and Fight, a powerful novel set in Appalachia in which a yuppie from Seattle becomes an unlikely homesteader with an unconventional family of choice. Publishers Weekly, in its starred review, called Stay and Fight a “remarkable, gripping debut novel.” Our moderator is author and poet Rusty Barnes, whose recent books include Appalachia Now: Short Stories of Contemporary Appalachia and Ridgerunner.

avatar for Rusty Barnes

Rusty Barnes

Rusty Barnes, poet and crime writer, grew up in rural northern Appalachia. He received his BA from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from Emerson College. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies like Best Small Fictions 2015... Read More →

avatar for Chelsea Jack

Chelsea Jack

Chelsea Jack is a PhD student in anthropology at Yale. Her fields of interest are anthropology of medicine, environmental history and humanities, agrarian studies, American literature, nature writing, and history. Jack has contributed to Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to... Read More →
avatar for Madeline ffitch

Madeline ffitch

Madeline ffitch is a writer with work in Tin House, Guernica, Granta, VICE, Electric Literature, and other publications. She co-founded the punk theater company Missoula Oblongata and is part of the direct-action collective Appalachia Resist! ffitch is the author of the short story... Read More →
avatar for Meredith McCarroll

Meredith McCarroll

Meredith McCarroll is the writer of Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film and Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, a book that a starred Kirkus Reviews review called a “a welcome and valuable resource for anyone studying or writing about this much-maligned... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
BPL Commonwealth Salon 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

11:00am EDT

Chances of German Translation in the United States
According to the Translation Database at Publishers Weekly, 2018 was the second year in a row when the total number of translated works of fiction and poetry published in the United States declined, 606 titles compared to the peak of 666 titles in 2016. This is a tiny percentage of the total number of books published annually in the US (around 300,000). Contrast that with Germany: in 2016, 9,882 new translations were published in Germany, 13.6 percent of new releases, as reported in the Frankfurter Buchmesse “Books and the Book Trade in 2017 (2016 figures)” report. To this day, German-language readers lead the world in published translations. Authors like J.K. Rowling and Jojo Moyes top both German and American bestseller lists, but it’s rare for a German author to top charts in the US. Why does this cultural imbalance persist? Literary translators Danny Bowles and Katy Derbyshire will discuss these issues and more in this conversation.

avatar for Daniel Bowles

Daniel Bowles

Daniel Bowles is an assistant professor of German studies at Boston College, where he researches and teaches twentieth-century and contemporary German literature, culture, and history. Christian Kracht’s The Dead is his latest translation. Previous translation work includes novels... Read More →
avatar for Katy Derbyshire

Katy Derbyshire

Katy Derbyshire is a British-born, Berlin-based translator and writer. She translates contemporary German writers including Clemens Meyer, Christa Wolf, Helene Hegemann, and Inka Parei. Her translation of Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
199 Commonwealth Ave 199 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, 02116

11:00am EDT

Picturing the World: Nonfiction Picture Books
Nonfiction stories for young readers have been gaining in popularity and critical acclaim; two of the four most recent Caldecott Medal winners have been picture book biographies. How do creators of nonfiction picture books choose their subjects and conduct research? How do they condense complicated life stories into thirty-two pages and select which details to include (and which to omit)? What is the role of illustration in bringing true stories to life on the page? These are just a few of the questions we’ll explore with authors of four exciting new nonfiction picture books, two about space and two about sports. Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of several acclaimed picture book biographies; her latest, Counting the Stars, explores the life of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. Hayley Barrett also looks to the stars in her new book; What Miss Mitchell Saw is about the life of nineteenth-century astronomer (and Nantucket native) Maria Mitchell. On the sporting side, Karlin Gray’s Serena: The Littlest Sister is about tennis phenom Serena Williams, and Gloria Respress-Churchwell’s Follow Chester! traces the courageous story of Chester Pierce, Harvard’s first black football player. Whether you’re a parent, educator, librarian, aspiring picture book creator, or you just like a good (true) story, you’ll want to turn up for this fascinating session, hosted by Simmons University’s Megan Dowd Lambert, author of several picture books as well as the guidebook Reading Picture Books with Children.

avatar for Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Lambert is a senior lecturer in children’s literature at Simmons University. She writes and reviews for Kirkus Reviews and the Horn Book and is a consultant with Embrace Race: A Community about Race and Kids. She is an award-winning author of children’s picture books like... Read More →

avatar for Lesa Cline-Ransome

Lesa Cline-Ransome

Lisa Cline-Ransome is the award-winning author of multiple children’s picture books such as Satchel Paige, Young Pele, Before She Was Harriet, and more. Her latest release is the “detail-rich” (Kirkus Reviews) picture book biography of Katherine Johnson, Counting the Stars... Read More →
avatar for Hayley Barrett

Hayley Barrett

Hayley Barrett is the author of the picture book Babymoon (illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal), which follows a new family as they welcome a child into the world. She is also the author of What Miss Mitchell Saw (illustrated by Diana Sudyka), a nonfiction account of Nantucket astronomer... Read More →
avatar for Gloria Respress-Churchwell

Gloria Respress-Churchwell

Gloria Respress-Churchwell is a children’s author, documentarian, and both a fiction and nonfiction writer. Her documentary and fictional history of Robert Churchwell, the “Jackie Robinson of Journalism,” is now on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African... Read More →
avatar for Karlin Gray

Karlin Gray

Growing up, Navy “brat” Karlin Gray lived in ten houses and attended eight schools. Since then, she has worked in a variety of jobs in Florida, Virginia, New York and Connecticut. Gray is the author of Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still and An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm EDT
Old South Mary Norton 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

11:30am EDT

Architecture: Bauhaus
The Bauhaus was founded in Germany one hundred years ago, and we are commemorating the occasion with a session that looks at multiple dimensions of the highly influential school of architecture and design. Elizabeth Otto, author of Haunted Bauhaus, explores an unexpected aspect of Bauhaus hiding beneath its slick surfaces: the experimentation with occult spirituality, gender fluidity, queer identities, and radical politics. In Gyorgy Kepes: Undreaming the Bauhaus, John R. Blakinger considers the work of an acolyte of Moholy-Nagy who, when transplanted to America, found himself trapped in a military-industrial-aesthetic complex. Kepes pioneered a new paradigm for creative practice: the artist as technocrat. The volume Bauhaus Futures asks “who are the pioneering experimentalists who reinscribe or resist Bauhaus traditions?” Contributors to Bauhaus Futures include Molly Wright Steenson, Laura Forlano, and our moderator, Robert Wiesenberger. Sponsored by MIT Press.

avatar for Robert Wiesenberger

Robert Wiesenberger

Robert Wiesenberger is Associate Curator of Contemporary Projects at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he also teaches in the graduate program in art history at Williams College. Before moving to the Berkshires he was, from 2013–2018, a Critic at the... Read More →

avatar for Elizabeth Otto

Elizabeth Otto

Elizabeth Otto is an art and cultural historian whose research centers on early twentieth-century visual and media culture, with a focus on Europe. She is a tenured associate professor of Modern Art, Film, and Media History, Gender Studies, and Curriculum Development at the University... Read More →
avatar for John R. Blakinger

John R. Blakinger

John R. Blakinger is an art historian, writer, and editor whose work has appeared in Tate Papers, CAA Reviews, and Design Issues. With a PhD in art history from Stanford University, he was also a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National... Read More →
avatar for Laura Forlano

Laura Forlano

Laura Forlano is a social scientist, design researcher, professor, and writer. Her work, which has earned her funding from the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Award, has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Business Anthropology, Demonstrations... Read More →
avatar for Molly Wright Steenson

Molly Wright Steenson

Molly Wright Steenson is a designer, author, professor, researcher, and international speaker. Her work focuses on the intersection of design, architecture, and artificial intelligence. She is the Senior Associate Dean for Research in the College of Fine Arts, the K&L Gates Associate... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm EDT
BAC Cascieri Hall 320 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02115

11:30am EDT

Capitalism and Its Discontents
Money, money, money, money. The assumption that unbridled capitalism is good is at long last being questioned in many quarters where previously it was a given. Perfect timing for a discussion of the three books under consideration here. In Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It, economist Heather Boushey makes a persuasive and highly readable case that inequality undermines growth and offers policy suggestions for how to reduce it. In Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know, Ray Fisman looks at why corruption is so damaging, the perverse incentives that cause it, and how it can be combated. Mike Isaac provides a case study of everything that is suspect about startup culture in Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber. Join these three fabulous authors for a deep look at various aspects of the corrosive influence of money, led by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, author of Happy Money.

avatar for Michael Norton

Michael Norton

Michael Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and a member of Harvard’s Behavioral Insights Group. His work has appeared in a number of prestigious academic journals, including Science and the Annual Review of Psychology... Read More →

avatar for Ray Fisman

Ray Fisman

Ray Fisman holds the Slater Family Chair in Behavioral Economics at Boston University. Previously, he was the Lambert family professor of Social Enterprise and co-director of the Social Enterprise Program at Columbia University’s business school. Fisman’s research—much of it... Read More →
avatar for Heather Boushey

Heather Boushey

Heather Boushey is a leading economist, public thinker, editor, and executive director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Her work, which focuses on the intersection of economic inequality and public policy, has twice landed Boushey on Politico’s top fifty “thinkers... Read More →
avatar for Mike Isaac

Mike Isaac

Mike Isaac is an award-winning technology correspondent at the New York Times. His coverage of Uber won the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business reporting. You can see him often on CNBC and MSNBC. Isaac’s book, Super Pumped, tells the story of Uber’s rise and fall against... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm EDT
Trinity Forum 206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA, 02116

11:30am EDT

Violence, Justice, and Forgiveness
This session deals with complicated issues of crime and forgiveness. Martha Minow, in When Should Law Forgive?, asks whether laws should encourage individuals to forgive and when the law itself should be more forgiving. She points out that debtors (other than holders of student debt) are forgiven through bankruptcy proceedings, so why not a forgiveness process for those convicted of crimes? In The Limits of Blame, Erin I. Kelly argues that our practice of assigning blame goes beyond a pragmatic need for protection or a moral need to condemn harmful acts publicly and represents instead a desire for retribution that normalizes excessive punishment. Thomas Abt looks at crime prevention in Bleeding Out. He asserts that violent crime is by no means a permanent feature of urban life. By identifying the small number of people responsible for the majority of violent crime and deploying support and treatment, homicides and other violent crimes can be reduced dramatically. Our moderator for this conversation on the philosophical and practical issues around crime and punishment is Harvard Law professor Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement.

avatar for Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Tomiko Brown-Nagin is an American lawyer, an award-winning legal historian, an expert in constitutional law and education law and policy, and an academic administrator and professor. She is the current dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her work... Read More →

avatar for Martha Minow

Martha Minow

Martha Minow is the 300th University Anniversary Professor in Harvard and a former Dean of Harvard Law School who President Barack Obama calls the “teacher who changed my life.” She is the vice-chair of the Legal Services Corporation that helped launch a program of the UN High... Read More →
avatar for Erin I. Kelly

Erin I. Kelly

Erin I. Kelly is a professor of philosophy at Tufts University. Her research areas are in moral and political philosophy and the philosophy of law including ethics and criminal justice, with a focus on justice, the nature of moral reasons, moral responsibility, and theories of punishment... Read More →
avatar for Thomas Abt

Thomas Abt

Thomas Abt is a senior research fellow with the Center for International Development at Harvard Kennedy School, where he leads their Security and Development Seminar Series. He is also a senior fellow to the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School and the Igarape Institute... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm EDT
BPL Rabb Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

12:00pm EDT

True Story
Four authors of nonfiction each get twelve minutes to tell you a true story. This year’s lineup will keep you riveted with tales of journeys, treasure, mind control, and, wait for it . . . mushrooms. Sandra Miller, author of Trove, goes on a treasure hunt for $10,000 in gold coins and discovers much more than money. Rob Cocuzzo, in The Road to San Donato, tells of a grueling bicycle trip with his father to his ancestral village to discover what role his family may have played during WWII when dozens of Jews were interned there before being sent to death camps. Stephen Kinzer, in his latest, Poisoner in Chief, tells the horrifying story of a powerful CIA chemist whose highly classified work involved experimenting with LSD on unsuspecting subjects, as well as scheming to poison Fidel Castro. Finally, adventurer Lawrence Millman treats us to ecological, ethnographic, and historical wit and wisdom about mushrooms from his delightful Fungipedia. Hosted by True Story veteran Larry Lindner, author of Saving Baby.

avatar for Larry Lindner

Larry Lindner

Larry Lindner is a New York Times–bestselling co-author who has also written for many publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and O, the Oprah Magazine. He is the former director of the Boston Literary District.
avatar for Lawrence Millman

Lawrence Millman

Lawrence Millman is a mycologist, an explorer, and the author of sixteen books, including At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic, Hiking to Siberia, and Last Places. His area of expertise is fungi, and he has studied them all over the world--Greenland, Honduras... Read More →
avatar for Robert Cocuzzo

Robert Cocuzzo

Robert Cocuzzo is an editor, author, and journalist from Massachusetts. He’s a long-time editor at Nantucket Magazine, and his other work has appeared in Outside, Town & Country, Departures, Luxury, and Boston Common. Cocuzzo’s debut book was the critically acclaimed Tracking... Read More →
avatar for Sandra A. Miller

Sandra A. Miller

Sandra A. Miller is a writer and essayist with work in over a hundred publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe Magazine, NPR, Spirituality & Health, Yankee, and Modern Bride. She also wrote award-winning scripts for 11 Central Ave., a popular radio comic... Read More →
avatar for Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who, for more than two decades, covered 50+ countries on five continents for the New York Times, including Nicaragua, Turkey, and pre- and post-unification Germany. He is the author of several well-acclaimed books such as Bitter... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT
Old South Guild Room 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

12:30pm EDT

Bitcoin Billionaires
The Winklevoss twins first caught the public’s attention when Boston’s own Ben Mezrich wrote about their role in launching Facebook in his 2009 bestseller, The Accidental Billionaires. Now, Mezrich (and the Winklevoss twins) are back with Bitcoin Billionaires, the unlikely story of how the brothers Tyler and Cameron made a bet on a nascent cryptocurrency called Bitcoin and won big. Whether you, like us, are big Mezrich fans or are just curious about crypto, come join Ben’s conversation with venture capitalist Anthony Tjan, author of Good People.

avatar for Anthony Tjan

Anthony Tjan

Anthony Tjan is an entrepreneur, strategic advisor, and venture investor. He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck and the author of Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters. Tjan is the CEO of the Cue Ball Group, a private... Read More →

avatar for Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich

Ben Mezrich has built his career chronicling young genius. Mezrich can only be called prolific, producing a book for almost every year of his near two-decade writing career. He is perhaps best known for The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT
BPL Abbey Room 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

12:30pm EDT

Lions and Tigers and Dogs and Kids
The two fascinating books presented here offer insights into animal and human behavior. In Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, the author duo behind bestseller Zoobiquity, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers, find that the same four challenges face every adolescent and young adult human and animal: safety, status, sex, and self-reliance. How they face those challenges shapes their adult destinies. In Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond, head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Columbia University and bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz presents an entertaining investigation of the relationship between dogs and humans. Come hear these authors give presentations about their amazing work, followed by a convo and Q&A moderated by Tiziana C. Dearing, host of WBUR’s Radio Boston.

avatar for Tiziana C. Dearing

Tiziana C. Dearing

Tiziana C. Dearing is a Professor of Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work as well as the current host of Radio Boston. Prior to that, she has had many years of experience leading in the nonprofit, academic, and business sectors, including a long stretch of consulting... Read More →

avatar for Alexandra Horowitz

Alexandra Horowitz

Alexandra Horowitz is a professor, psychologist, and nonfiction writer focused on research in dog cognition. With a PhD in cognitive sciences from the University of California, San Diego, Horowitz is also an assistant professor of psychology at Barnard College and the head of their... Read More →
avatar for Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is a professor, evolutionary biologist, cardiologist, and writer whose research centers on health and development through the natural world. A professor of medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology and a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Department... Read More →
avatar for Kathryn Bowers

Kathryn Bowers

Kathryn Bowers is an award-winning science journalist who has taught medical narrative and comparative literature at UCLA. She writes about health, biology, and evolution. Bowers is a Future Tense Fellow at New America in Washington, DC and has worked with James Fallow, the Washington... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT
Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

12:30pm EDT

True Crime: Crime in Context
Three harrowing stories of murder from the past are the focus of this chilling session. JoeAnn Hart blends memoir and true crime in Stamford '76, about the unsolved murder of Margo Olsen, whose body was found with an arrow piercing her heart, and the subsequent killing by police of Margo’s African American boyfriend, Howie Carter. What makes the story especially riveting is that Hart’s boyfriend at the time, also African American, was Carter’s best friend. A blend of racism, misogyny, and recession provides the backdrop. Mark Bowden’s latest, The Last Stone, explores the unsolved case of two girls abducted from a mall in 1975. Bowden covered the story as a reporter in '75, and then took it up again when, in 2013, a cold case squad detective discovered new evidence leading to a masterful interrogation and, finally, the truth. Cara Robertson, in The Trial of Lizzie Borden, contextualizes the sensational and sensationalized trial of Lizzie Borden for the axe murders of her father and stepmother and reveals the social anxieties of the Gilded Age that permeated the proceedings. In each of these stories, the historical and cultural environment of the times plays a role in the framing of the story. Amy MacKinnon, author of the novel Tethered, will moderate this discussion of crime and its context.

avatar for Amy MacKinnon

Amy MacKinnon

Amy MacKinnon is a former congressional aide whose commentaries have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times, and on NPR and This American Life. Her debut novel, Tethered, was described by Booklist as a “haunting” and “gracefully rendered... Read More →

avatar for Cara Robertson

Cara Robertson

Cara Robertson is a lawyer, former legal adviser to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague, and former Supreme Court clerk. She holds a PhD in English from Oxford University and a JD from Stanford Law School, and her work has appeared in the Boston... Read More →
avatar for JoeAnn Hart

JoeAnn Hart

JoeAnn Hart is a fiction writer, journalist, and environmental activist whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Orion, Design New England, Solstice, and the Hopper. Anthologized in Black Lives Have Always Mattered, Hart’s pieces typically focus on the relationship... Read More →
avatar for Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden

Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, which was adapted into a film that won two Academy Awards. He reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic, Esquire, and other newspapers... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT
Emmanuel Sanctuary 15 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:00pm EDT

American Power: The Series Finale
Is America destined to become a second-rate power in the world? The answer is almost certainly yes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Andrew Bacevich, historian and professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University, offers fresh insights into the intellectual and military history of modern US foreign policy in Twilight of the American Century. He advises that US leaders on the left and right abandon the conceit of global leadership and instead focus on repairing our democracy. Harvard international affairs professor Stephen Walt concurs. His take, offered in The Hell of Good Intentions, is that a stubborn commitment to spreading democracy and open markets worldwide is at the root of our foreign policy failures. The one to repudiate those policies has been Donald Trump, but his flawed understanding of world affairs is only making things worse. Join two experts on foreign policy for an analysis and some prescriptions for managing the decline of American power, moderated by Anthony Brooks, senior political reporter for WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.

avatar for Anthony Brooks

Anthony Brooks

Anthony Brooks has more than thirty years of experience in public radio, whether as a producer, editor, reporter, or WBUR and NPR host/co-host (Radio Boston, On Point, Here & Now). He is the recipient of numerous broadcast awards including the Edward R. Murrow Regional Broadcasters... Read More →

avatar for Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich is a longtime historian and public intellectual. A professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich specializes in security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. His work has appeared... Read More →
avatar for Stephen Walt

Stephen Walt

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the former Academic Dean from 2002 to 2006. He is also a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, co-chair of the editorial board of International... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT
BPL Rabb Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:00pm EDT

Fighting for the Right to Vote: From Women’s Suffrage to Voter IDs
Although most Americans regard the right to vote as essential to democracy, voting rights have been, and continue to be, a contested issue. In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, the BBF presents a session dedicated to the subject of voting rights and the movements and people who have championed the cause. Susan Ware’s Why They Marched profiles nineteen of the largely overlooked women of diverse background and race who crusaded for women’s suffrage, a right that took a hundred years to win. Their stories provide insights into the ecosystem of the abolitionist, feminist, worker’s rights, and suffrage movements. Holly Jackson, whose American Radicals has been called an “electric debut” by Publishers Weekly, provides context by discussing radical American movements with a focus on those that reshaped American life, including the women’s rights movement. In Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?, Tina Cassidy describes the heroic efforts of a young Quaker woman, Alice Paul, who used radical tactics borrowed from the British suffragettes. Paul’s efforts were inclusive of black women, even as the movement subtly endorsed the strategy of using women’s suffrage as a bulwark against the votes of blacks and immigrants. Gloria Browne-Marshall’s book, The Voting Rights War, covers the NAACP’s fight to bring voting rights cases before the Supreme Court. From the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson to today’s battles over felony disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and photo ID laws, the NAACP has been a prominent advocate for extending and defending voting rights. Join our panel of experts in a spirited discussion of this perennially timely issue, moderated by Colby College professor Lydia Moland, author of the forthcoming Hegel’s Aesthetics: The Art of Idealism.

avatar for Lydia Moland

Lydia Moland

Lydia Moland is an associate professor of philosophy at Colby College. She is the author of Hegel on Political Identity: Patriotism, National Identity, Cosmopolitanism and numerous articles on Hegel’s political philosophy and the philosophy of art. Moland has received fellowships... Read More →

avatar for Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is an associate professor of constitutional law at John Jay College (CUNY) and a civil rights attorney. She is an award-winning legal correspondent, a playwright, and a member of the National Press Club. She has appeared on BBC, CNN, CBS, NPR, C-SPAN, and... Read More →
avatar for Holly Jackson

Holly Jackson

Holly Jackson is an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her writing on US cultural history has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe, as well as a number of scholarly publications. Her book, American Radicals... Read More →
avatar for Susan Ware

Susan Ware

Susan Ware is a pioneer in women's history and a leading feminist biographer whom the New Yorker called "an appealing writer." She is the author and editor of several books on twentieth-century US history, including Forgotten Heroes: Inspiring American Portraits from Our Leading Historians... Read More →
avatar for Tina Cassidy

Tina Cassidy

Tina Cassidy is a writer and the chief marketing officer of WGBH. A former journalist who spent the majority of her career covering business, fashion, and politics at the Boston Globe, Cassidy now writes about women and culture. She is the author of Birth: The Surprising History of... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT
Trinity Forum 206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:00pm EDT

History Keynote
We are proud and honored to present historian David W. Blight to speak about his Pulitzer Prize–winning biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Blight’s biography is as remarkable as his subject. In vivid prose, he examines the life of one of American history’s towering figures: a former slave who achieved international fame as an abolitionist, author, orator, political philosopher, and women’s rights advocate. Douglass was a prophet for the destruction and rebirth of the nation, and he lived to see it happen. He also lived to see the promise of Emancipation betrayed by Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws, and the reign of terror against blacks. Join us to hear David W. Blight speak about the extraordinary life and genius of Frederick Douglass. After a brief talk, Blight will be interviewed by Harvard professor Elizabeth Hinton, author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime.

avatar for Elizabeth Hinton

Elizabeth Hinton

Elizabeth Hinton is a professor of history and African American studies at Harvard University. Her articles and op-eds have appeared in the Journal of American History, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Nation, Time, and other publications. Hinton co-edited The New Black... Read More →

avatar for David W. Blight

David W. Blight

David W. Blight is a teacher, scholar, historian, and book reviewer. He is the author of Race and Reunion, American Oracle, A People and A Nation, and multiple annotations and introductory essays. His latest book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT
Church of the Covenant 67 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:30pm EDT

Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness
In this session, two talented writers explore multiple facets of being a woman in the world, from the deadly serious to the sublimely silly. In her candid and witty essay collection, Womanish: A Grown Black Woman Speaks on Love and Life, Kim McLarin interrogates issues such as divorce, depression, parenting, the Obamas, and the sometimes fraught relationships between black and white women. In her poignant I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, Tracy Strauss details her own dating journey and offers advice to others on how to eliminate obstacles to success, especially the “inner love saboteur.” This wide-ranging conversation will be led by Zeninjor Enwemeka, business, tech, and culture reporter for WBUR. Sponsored by Emerson College.

avatar for Zeninjor Enwemeka

Zeninjor Enwemeka

Zeninjor Enwemeka is a reporter at WBUR, covering business, tech, and culture both online and on air as part of the BostonomiX team. She is also the vice president of the Boston Association of Black Journalists. Before joining WBUR, she worked as a breaking news writer for Boston.com... Read More →

avatar for Kim McLarin

Kim McLarin

Kim McLarin is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Taming It Down, Meeting of the Waters, and Jump at the Sun, as well as the memoir Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men, and Midlife. McLarin is also co-author of the memoir Growing Up X with Ilyasah Shabazz. Jump at the Sun was... Read More →
avatar for Tracy Strauss

Tracy Strauss

Tracy Strauss is a writer whose essays have been published in Glamour, New York Magazine, the Huffington Post, Salon, Publishers Weekly, Ploughshares, the Satirist, and Writer’s Digest Magazine, among others. Her scholarly work has appeared in publications including War, Literature... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Old South Guild Room 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:45pm EDT

Walk This Way: The Song that Revolutionized American Music
It might be hard to remember (and let’s face it, some of you weren’t even born then), but there was a time when hip-hop was largely isolated to “a small underground community of independent labels and scrappy promoters,” not the juggernaut it is in the American popular music scene today. That all changed on July 4, 1986, when Run-DMC and Aerosmith released “Walk This Way,” one of the first rap songs played on Top-40 radio. Geoff Edgers, national arts reporter for the Washington Post, outlines the genesis of this seminal song in his book of the same title, tracing how two very different groups, with wildly divergent personalities and approaches, joined forces to build what Edgers calls “hip-hop’s Trojan horse, the music camouflaged enough to give timid programmers permission to play.” Edgers’s in-depth chronicle explores intersections of economics, geography, and race, documenting a collaboration that set the stage for the music we enjoy today. Edgers will be interviewed by Boston music journalist and reviewer Hassan Ghanny. Run, don’t walk, to what’s sure to be a provocative and entertaining discussion about what American music is today--and how we got here.

avatar for Hassan Ghanny

Hassan Ghanny

Hassan Ghanny is a writer, performer, and music journalist currently living in Boston. His work deals with the intersections of music, media, culture, identity, and diaspora. Ghanny’s writing has been featured in Cuepoint, Tenderly, and Burnt Roti, and he is a regular writer for... Read More →

avatar for Geoff Edgers

Geoff Edgers

Geoff Edgers is a journalist, documentarian, podcast host, and the national arts reporter for the Washington Post. Formerly an arts reporter for the Boston Globe, Edgers has also been a correspondent for the Boston Phoenix and Raleigh News and Observer, and has had work appear in... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 1:45pm - 2:45pm EDT
BAC Beehive 951 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02115

2:00pm EDT

Is There Still Sex in the City?
Candace Bushnell’s novel Sex and the City was spun into a TV series megahit about a group of women friends who were NOT focused on finding husbands. It was a revolutionary idea. Now, almost a quarter century later, Bushnell is back with the semi-autobiographical Is There Still Sex in the City?, a novel with a new cast of female characters, newly single, over fifty, and trying to make sense of an altered dating landscape. For another view of women in midlife, Ada Calhoun will discuss her forthcoming Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, an expansion of her viral story about GenX women on Oprah.com. Calhoun interviewed hundreds of women across the country about what they are experiencing and offers advice that is a little more nuanced than “lean in.” We promise you will be both challenged and entertained in this no-holds-barred conversation moderated by Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR. The first 500 attendees will receive a complimentary teaser of Ada Calhoun’s new book!

avatar for Robin Young

Robin Young

Robin Young is the co-host of Here & Now. Formerly, she has reported for NBC, CBS, ABC, as a substitute host and correspondent for The Today Show, as a second director on Boston Bruins and Red Sox telecasts, and even as the host of a cooking show. She is also a Peabody Award–winning... Read More →

avatar for Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell is the New York Times–bestselling novelist and essayist of the blockbuster Sex and the City series. Her young adult novel, The Carrie Diaries, and her fictional Lipstick Jungle were adapted for popular television shows on the CW and NBC, respectively. Her latest... Read More →
avatar for Ada Calhoun

Ada Calhoun

Ada Calhoun is an essayist, memoirist, and critic for the New York Times Book Review. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Billboard, Oprah.com, the New Yorker, and Cosmopolitan, and she has worked as an A-list ghostwriter on fourteen books since 2009, many of which were New... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:00pm EDT

Sea Stories
Join us for a stimulating mix of poetry, history, mystery, anthropology, and environmentalism, all relating to the sea. The session will begin with a reading by poet and naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield from her new collection, Toward Antarctica, informed by her work as a guide on ships in Antarctica. Christina Thompson will speak about Sea People, called a “grand, symphonic, beautifully written book,” by the Boston Globe. In it, she investigates what came to be known as the Problem of Polynesian Origins: the mystery of how a pre-literate people managed to navigate and inhabit the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean. Bathsheba Demuth’s Floating Coast, hailed as brilliant by multiple reviewers, offers a uniquely told history of a unique place, Beringia, the Arctic land and waters that stretch from Russia to Canada. Demuth combines ecology, anthropology, and reportage to forge a fascinating environmental history of a largely overlooked landscape. David Armitage, professor of history at Harvard and editor, most recently, of Civil Wars: A History of Ideas, will moderate.

avatar for David Armitage

David Armitage

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, where he teaches intellectual and international history. He is the author or editor of seventeen award-winning books including The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, The Declaration of Independence... Read More →

avatar for Bathsheba Demuth

Bathsheba Demuth

Bathsheba DeMuth is an environmental historian, professor, and author. DeMuth specializes in the northern environments and cultures of the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic, and she is an assistant professor of history and environment and society at Brown University... Read More →
avatar for Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson is a memoirist, editor, and professor. Her work, which has appeared in the Paris Review, the Boston Globe, and JSTOR Daily, often explores the effects of Westernization on the islands of the Pacific. She is the author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield is a poet, author, photographer, and naturalist. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, West Branch, Poetry, the Atlantic Monthly, and Orion, and she earned a Stegner Fellowship and the Audre Lorde Prize. She was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Old South Mary Norton 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:15pm EDT

Technologies of Freedom or Control?
In his seminal 1983 book Technologies of Freedom, Ithiel de Sola Pool declared that electronic technology is conducive to freedom. Thirty-five years later, we worry that George Orwell’s vision may have been closer to the truth. Shoshana Zuboff’s brilliant work, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, points to how companies like Google and Facebook catalog our every move, emotion, desire, and even utterance, and then sell it to companies so they can predict and control our behavior. We give up the data gladly in return for convenience and the sometimes illusory promise of social connection. Roger McNamee, in Zucked, sounds a warning as he chronicles the optimism he experienced as an early investor in Facebook and his bitter disappointment when it became clear to him that Facebook has a decidedly dark underbelly. This chilling and necessary consideration of the technologies that surround us will be moderated by Meghna Chakrabarti, host of WBUR’s On Point.

avatar for Meghna Chakrabarti

Meghna Chakrabarti

Meghna Chakrabarti is the host and editor of NPR and WBUR’s On Point alongside David Folkenflik and the host of Modern Love: The Podcast, a collaboration between WBUR and the New York Times. As a former host of Radio Boston, she and her team won the national excellence in radio/audio... Read More →

avatar for Shoshana Zuboff

Shoshana Zuboff

Shoshana Zuboff is the author of In the Age of the Smart Machine, The Support Economy, and her latest, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which the Guardian calls “what may prove to be the first definitive account of the economic—and thus social and political—condition of our... Read More →
avatar for Roger McNamee

Roger McNamee

Roger McNamee is an American businessman, investor, venture capitalist, and musician. He is a founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners, a co-founder of private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, a former head of the T. Rowe Price Science and Technology Fund... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:15pm - 3:15pm EDT
Emmanuel Sanctuary 15 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:30pm EDT

Public Affairs Keynote
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and other Black Lives Matter cases. In his book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, he argues that the criminal justice system discriminates against black and brown people, as well as people who are “colored” by virtue of sexual preference, religious beliefs, or gender. As evidence, Crump describes the effects of racial profiling, mass incarceration, voter disenfrachisement, and unequal educational opportunities for minority students. But Crump has hope. He believes that there is a cure for racism. Come hear this powerful advocate for justice discuss Open Season with Kenneth Mack, Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law at Harvard and author of Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer.

avatar for Kenneth Mack

Kenneth Mack

Kenneth W. Mack is the inaugural Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also the co-faculty leader of the Harvard Law School Program on Law and History. His 2012 book, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights... Read More →

avatar for Ben Crump

Ben Crump

Ben Crump is a civil rights attorney, author, and speaker who is known for representing Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown’s families in their respective cases. A frequent contributor to Time Magazine, Crump served as the first African American president of the Federal Bar Association... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT
BPL Rabb Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:45pm EDT

A Tribute to Tony Horwitz
Beloved reporter, historian, author, and friend Tony Horwitz died suddenly shortly after the publication of his latest book, Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide. In that work, Tony followed the path through the American South of Frederick Law Olmsted, who, before he became a renowned landscape architect, was an undercover correspondent for the New York Times. Tony explored the racial and political divides plaguing the United States, using a perch on a barstool to find his informants. As always, his reportage is infused with his trademark humor in the face of things a Massachusetts Yankee finds difficult to hear. An all-star panel of Tony’s friends and colleagues will discuss Tony’s life and work. Join Harvard historian and lawyer Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; Yale historian David W. Blight, whose Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for history; and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ron Suskind, a former Wall Street Journal colleague of Tony’s and author of Life Animated, Hope in the Unseen, and The Way of the World, for a tribute to Tony Horwitz.

avatar for Ron Suskind

Ron Suskind

Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, lecturer at Harvard Law School, bestselling author, and founder of the mobile app Sidekicks. He is the author of Life, Animated, Confidence Men, The Way of the World, The One Percent Doctrine, The Price of Loyalty, and A Hope in... Read More →

avatar for David W. Blight

David W. Blight

David W. Blight is a teacher, scholar, historian, and book reviewer. He is the author of Race and Reunion, American Oracle, A People and A Nation, and multiple annotations and introductory essays. His latest book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning... Read More →
avatar for Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner in History for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:45pm - 3:45pm EDT
Church of the Covenant 67 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

3:00pm EDT

The Great Nowitzki
Writer Thomas Pletzinger met NBA player Dirk Nowitzki (“Saint Dirk”) in Dallas, where the fans still love him and the opponents’ fans always feared him. In Germany, Nowitzki is more well-known than the game he plays. He’s famous because he’s famous. He’s been doing ads for a bank and an athletic brand for years and has been a guest on Germany’s most popular talk show. Joining Pletzinger to discuss the Nowitzki phenomenon is MIT digital humanities and media studies professor Kurt Fendt.

avatar for Kurt Fendt

Kurt Fendt

Kurt Fendt teaches digital humanities and media studies subjects, as well as many upper-level German studies courses in Global Studies and Languages at MIT. A former executive director of MIT’s HyperStudio for Digital Humanities, Fendt has held visiting professorships at the University... Read More →

avatar for Thomas Pletzinger

Thomas Pletzinger

Thomas Pletzinger is an award-winning freelance writer and translator at the literary studio adler & söhne. He teaches creative writing at the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel, Switzerland. Bestattung eines Hundes (Funeral for a Dog) was his critically acclaimed debut novel. His... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 3:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
199 Commonwealth Ave 199 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, 02116

3:30pm EDT

BBF Unbound: We Are America
Twenty-eight students from Lowell High School in Massachusetts set out to understand what it means to be American. They explored their own personal histories, drawing connections between these histories and the larger history of America. Together they wrote We Are America: Voices of the Nation’s Future—a collection of deeply personal stories—of finding the courage to speak, of searching for home, of seeking acceptance, of asking for help. Hearing about their personal acts of courage, their journeys and reflections, can help us better comprehend the beauty and breadth of diversity in this country. This session will elevate the voices of young people who are passionate, eloquent and deeply thoughtful about how we create space to celebrate and understand diversity in America. Students will be joined by their teacher, Jessica Lander, in a session hosted by Charles Thomas Lai FitzGibbon of Facing History and Ourselves.

avatar for Charles Thomas Lai FitzGibbon

Charles Thomas Lai FitzGibbon

Charles Thomas Lai FitzGibbon is a former social studies teacher and current program associate for Facing History and Ourselves.

avatar for Safiya Alsamarrai

Safiya Alsamarrai

Safiya Alsamarrai is a freshman at Middlesex Community College and is also a co-chair of the National Student Leadership Board for Generation Citizen. She moved to the United States from Iraq seven years ago.
avatar for Diane Chikulu

Diane Chikulu

Diane Chikulu is attending college at Middlesex Community College and is studying liberal arts. She hopes to be involved in the medical field.
avatar for Idalisse Fernandez

Idalisse Fernandez

Idalisse Fernandez aspires to attend college to study business, in the hopes of one day starting her own company.
avatar for Katherine Mary Huang

Katherine Mary Huang

Katherine Huang is a first-year student at MIT, planning to major in comparative media studies. In We Are America, she told the story of starting her nonprofit, Science and Us.
avatar for Jessica Lander

Jessica Lander

Jessica Lander is a writer and a highschool teacher who currently lives in her hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has taught all over the world, including in Thailand and Cambodia, and her work has featured in the Boston Globe Magazine, Huffington Post, Usable Knowledge, and... Read More →
avatar for Philly Marte

Philly Marte

Philly Marte is a freshman at Western New England University studying political science.
avatar for Ezequiel Nunez

Ezequiel Nunez

Ezequiel Nunez is a freshman at Fitchburg State University. He migrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2015. He also plays the piano and the guitar.
avatar for Lucie Karaza Rwakabuba

Lucie Karaza Rwakabuba

Lucie Rwkabuba is from Democratic Republic of Congo. She is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and hopes her career will involve helping people.

Saturday October 19, 2019 3:30pm - 4:30pm EDT
BPL Orientation Room 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

4:00pm EDT

Media, Politics, and Fake News
The coarseness and chaos of our politics is echoed in our news media. And vice versa. This unmissable session shines a harsh light on the current state of the news. Jill Abramson takes on the media business in Merchants of Truth and calls journalism to account for selling out to advertisers. In Audience of One, James Poniewozik details the ways in which Donald Trump used media to “enlarge himself, to become a brand, a star, a demagogue, and a president.” Brian Rosenwald, in Talk Radio’s America, shows how talk radio evolved from informative discussions to a forum for outrage that polarized America and ultimately led to a Republican party unable to govern. Join these three distinguished authors for a look at how the changing news landscape has affected the political environment, moderated by Jeremy Hobson, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR.

avatar for Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson is a co-host for Here & Now, where he started many regular segments including the DJ Sessions, the daily business segment, conversations with Recode, BackStory, the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, and a weekly interview with political journalists. Previously, he hosted... Read More →

avatar for Brian Rosenwald

Brian Rosenwald

Brian Rosenwald is a co-editor of Washington Post’s Made By History section and a historical consultant for the Slate podcast Whistlestop. A senior fellow at the Robert A Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Rosenwald has discussed politics on CNN, NPR, and... Read More →
avatar for James Poniewozik

James Poniewozik

James Poniewozik is the chief television critic for the New York Times. Previously, he wrote “Tuned In,” a column critiquing television and related media, for Time Magazine and was the media editor for Salon’s website. Poniewozik’s work has also appeared in Fortune and Rolling... Read More →
avatar for Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson was the first female executive editor of the New York Times. Previously working for the Wall Street Journal as an investigative reporter and deputy bureau chief, Abramson is the author of five books: Where They Are Now, a look at the seventy women of the Harvard 1974... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Emmanuel Sanctuary 15 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

4:00pm EDT

Resist: The Signs and Songs of Protest
This session looks at two perennial forms of subtle resistance in our culture: songs and posters. James Sullivan’s Which Side Are You On? examines twentieth-century American history through the lens of protest songs from each of its major social movements, such as anti-war, civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, gay rights, and environmentalism. In Signs of Resistance, graphic designer Bonnie Siegler turns her eye to images of protest, beginning with the Revolutionary War all the way to the Trump and Black Lives Matter era. Join us for a lively musical and visual session about the history of protest in songs and signs moderated by Callie Crossley, BBF board member and host of Under the Radar on WGBH radio.

avatar for Callie Crossley

Callie Crossley

Callie Crossley is a radio and TV host, award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist, and commentator. She hosts Basic Black, a show focusing on current events concerning communities of color, as well as the weekly talk show Under the Radar with Callie Crossley on WGBH radio... Read More →

avatar for Bonnie Siegler

Bonnie Siegler

Bonnie Siegler is a New York–based graphic designer and founder of the award-winning studio Eight and a Half, which has clients including HBO, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Before that, she co-founded the design studio Number Seventeen, which created the... Read More →
avatar for James Sullivan

James Sullivan

James Sullivan is a writer, freelance journalist, editor, and music and cultural critic. He is currently a contributor to the Boston Globe, and has also been an editor for Rolling Stone, a critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, consultant for Pandora, and reviewer for Entertainment... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
BAC Cascieri Hall 320 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02115

4:00pm EDT

Paper or Plastic and Other Environmental Conundrums
If you are one of those believers in science who think environmental degradation is the biggest problem facing the planet, this session is for you. Our three authors have some unexpected takes that will challenge your assumptions. Medical ethicist Harriet Washington’s A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, talks about the toxic pollution in communities of color and its effect on cognitive development. Andrew McAfee, in More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources—And What Happens Next, offers copious data to show that thanks to technology, fewer resources are being consumed in manufacturing stuff, with positive implications for the environment. And in Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow, Joshua Goldstein makes an impassioned case for nuclear power, the only truly clean energy. WBUR’s environmental senior producing editor, Barbara Moran, will lead this revelatory conversation about the environment. Sponsored by the Boston Public Library.

avatar for Barbara Moran

Barbara Moran

Barbara Moran is the senior producing editor for WBUR’s environmental vertical. For more than twenty years, she has worked as a science journalist committed to covering issues of public health, environmental justice, and the intersection of science and society. She has written for... Read More →

avatar for Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee is a scientist, writer, and researcher at the forefront of exploring how the digital world impacts our present and our future. He is the codirector of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, as well as principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management... Read More →
avatar for Harriet Washington

Harriet Washington

Harriet Washington is a research fellow, scholar, and author. A recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, Washington has held fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health, Stanford University, DePaul University College of Law, Harvard Medical School... Read More →
avatar for Joshua Goldstein

Joshua Goldstein

Joshua Goldstein is a scholar, professor, and writer with expertise in international relations, world order, and climate change. His work, which has earned him a MacArthur Foundation Individual Research and Writing Grant and the International Studies Association’s Karl Deutsch Award... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 4:00pm - 5:15pm EDT
BPL Rabb Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

4:00pm EDT

France in the World
France in the World combines the intellectual rigor of an academic work with the liveliness and readability of popular history. With a brand-new preface aimed at an international audience, this English-language edition edited by Stéphane Gerson will be an essential resource for Francophiles and scholars alike. This dynamic collection presents a new way of writing national and global histories while developing our understanding of France in the world through short, provocative essays that range from prehistoric frescoes to Coco Chanel to the terrorist attacks of 2015. Gerson will be interviewed by French Cultural Center librarian Ingrid Marquardt, and there will be an opportunity for audience Q&A.

avatar for Ingrid Marquardt

Ingrid Marquardt

Ingrid Marquardt leads the second largest private French library in the country, at the French Cultural Center in the heart of historical Back Bay. This position marries her love of French language and literature. Marquardt began her passion for French through the immersion program... Read More →

avatar for Stéphane Gerson

Stéphane Gerson

Stéphane Gerson is a cultural historian and a professor of French studies at NYU. His first book, The Pride of Place: Local Memories and Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century France, won the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History and the Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
French Cultural Center 53 Marlborough St, Boston, MA, 02116

4:30pm EDT

Black History Detectives: Discovering Nineteenth-Century Stories Through Documents and Artifacts
In this session, we’ll hear from two historians who have used innovative and painstaking research methods to shape their chronicles of African American history. Tera W. Hunter is the 2018 winner of the Museum of African American History (MAAH) Stone Book Award for Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the 19th Century, and Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers is the author of They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, called “a taut and cogent corrective” by Parul Sehgal in the New York Times. Their conversation, moderated by historian Rayshauna Gray, will focus on the authors’ use of documents and artifacts—letters, newspaper advertisements, court records, birth certificates, etc.—as evidence and inspiration for building individual stories that are emblematic of African American history. They will speak to the discovery of particular primary sources that informed their work, and the way that these historical records and archival materials underpinned their research, highlighting themes of discovery, agency, tenacity, family, resilience, marriage, kinship, and the intertwining of slavery and freedom. Sponsored by the Plymouth Rock Foundation and the Jim and Cathy Stone Foundation to honor the MAAH Stone Book Award, this session will resonate with the tactile museum experience, combining the power of artifact and story to make history come alive.

avatar for Rayshauna Gray

Rayshauna Gray

Rayshauna Gray is a Chicagoan living in Cambridge. She's thrilled to be living her childhood dream of being a time-traveling storyteller. She loves researching with Tufts University's history department and coordinating Harvard’s Opportunity Insights’ policy team. Gray also creates... Read More →

avatar for Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers is a writer and associate professor in the department of history at the University of California, Berkeley, where she specializes in African American history, women’s and gender history, and the history of American slavery. She earned her doctoral degree... Read More →
avatar for Tera W. Hunter

Tera W. Hunter

Tera W. Hunter is the Edwards Professor of American History and Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is a specialist in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and her research focuses on gender, race, labor, and Southern histories. Hunter is the author... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Old South Guild Room 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

5:00pm EDT

Learning from the Germans
As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism, Susan Neiman, author of the contemporary philosophical classic Evil in Modern Thought, asks what we can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past. In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Neiman’s Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights–era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories. Neiman will be interviewed by Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, the founding Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School.

avatar for Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is the current executive director of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. A German and American national, she is also the founding executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. Ashbrook is a former... Read More →

avatar for Susan Neiman

Susan Neiman

Susan Neiman is a philosopher, writer, and the director of the Einstein Forum. She studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin and was previously professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University. Her works include Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 5:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
199 Commonwealth Ave 199 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, 02116

5:00pm EDT

Science and Psychiatry
Confidence in science has declined in recent years, largely owing to the internet and social media. Naomi Oreskes, in Why Trust Science?, offers both a history and a defense of science. She asserts that although the rigorous vetting process is imperfect, it is a remarkably reliable way to know whether a particular scientific claim is trustworthy. On the other side of the equation, the limits of psychiatrists’ scientific claims are the subject of Anne Harrington’s Mind Fixers. She recounts psychiatric researchers’ efforts to find and treat the biological roots of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression. Her view is that the record has often been disappointing, with claims having less to do with scientific breakthrough and more to do with industry profit-mongering and consumerism. Come join a timely discussion with two distinguished historians of science moderated by Carey B. Goldberg, host of WBUR’s CommonHealth.

avatar for Carey B Goldberg

Carey B Goldberg

Carey Goldberg is the host of WBUR’s CommonHealth section. Prior to that, she was the Boston bureau chief of the New York Times, a staff Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and a health and science reporter for the Boston Globe. Goldberg is a co-author of the triple... Read More →

avatar for Anne Harrington

Anne Harrington

Anne Harrington is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science and faculty dean of Pforzheimer House at Harvard. She specializes in the history of neuroscience, psychiatry, and other mind and behavioral studies. Harrington was a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation... Read More →
avatar for Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes has written or cowritten seven books and over 150 essays, articles, and op-eds, including the milestone essay “Behind the Ivory Tower,” which was significant to the fight against global warming denial. Oreskes is currently the Professor of the History of Science... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 5:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
Old South Mary Norton 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

5:15pm EDT

The Peanuts Papers
The Peanuts comic strip, written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, ran for fifty years beginning in 1950. To say that Peanuts is beloved doesn’t really do it justice. Here, the editor, along with three of the thirty-three contributors to The Peanuts Papers: Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life, discusses what the most influential comic strip of all time meant to them. Our distinguished Peanuts fan club includes: Chris Ware, master of the comic form, acclaimed New Yorker cover artist, and author of Rusty Brown; Chip Kidd, one of the world’s most important designers of book covers and author of Batman: Death by Design; Clifford Thompson, Whiting Award winner and author of What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues; and editor Andrew Blauner, founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency. Our Peanuts appreciation will be hosted by Hillary Chute, Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design at Northeastern and author of Why Comics?

avatar for Hillary Chute

Hillary Chute

Hillary Chute is a leading expert on comics whose scholarship aims to provide understanding of comics’ merged visual/graphic language as a literary form. A professor of English and art, media, and design at Northeastern, Chute was a visiting professor in English at Harvard for the... Read More →

avatar for Chris Ware

Chris Ware

Chris Ware is a writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer of over two dozen covers for the New Yorker whose work has appeared at MOCA, the MCA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the creator of the Acme Novelty Library series and Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth... Read More →
avatar for Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd is an award-winning graphic designer and writer most recognized for his book covers for the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. He’s worked with writers including John Updike, Katharine Hepburn, Cormac McCarthy, David Sedaris, and Haruki Murakami. Kidd is also an editor... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Blauner

Andrew Blauner

Andrew Blauner is a writer, editor, and the founder of Blauner Books. His work has been published in the New York Times and he has appeared on NPR’s On Point and the Brian Lehrer Show as well as Ben Cheever’s About Writing. His edited collections include Our Boston: Writers Celebrate... Read More →
avatar for Clifford Thompson

Clifford Thompson

Clifford Thompson is a writer whose work has appeared in Best American Essays, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Iowa Review, Film Quarterly, and other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award for nonfiction and teaches at New York University, Sarah... Read More →

Saturday October 19, 2019 5:15pm - 6:15pm EDT
Old South Sanctuary 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116
Sunday, October 20

12:00pm EDT

The Environment: Thinking into the Future
Why is it so damn difficult to make the changes that will be needed to avert environmental catastrophe? One reason is short-term thinking. In her fascinating new book, The Optimist’s Telescope, Bina Venkataraman, former advisor on climate change in the Obama administration, explains that for most of us, future scenarios seem vague and abstract, while what we want today is felt vividly, almost as a craving. Furthermore, the current costs of dealing effectively with the problem are deemed too high, regardless of the greater future costs to humanity of doing nothing. Governmental and corporate long-range, imaginative thinking is required, yet individuals must also be able to imagine and enact the future we want. That’s where Tatiana Schlossberg’s Inconspicuous Consumption comes in. Using accessible and witty prose, Schlossberg looks at four areas—technology, food, fashion, and fuel—and reveals the hidden ways that our consumption contributes to climate change. In the end, what will save us all is becoming well informed and holding our leaders accountable for inaction on climate change. Join us for an urgent and spirited conversation about present actions and future thinking, led by Andrew McAfee, author of More from Less.

avatar for Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee is a scientist, writer, and researcher at the forefront of exploring how the digital world impacts our present and our future. He is the codirector of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, as well as principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management... Read More →

avatar for Bina Venkataraman

Bina Venkataraman

Bina Venkataraman is a writer and leader who currently teaches in the program on science, technology, and society at MIT and serves as the Director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She is also a journalist and has recently been named as the editorial... Read More →
avatar for Tatiana Schlossberg

Tatiana Schlossberg

Tatiana Schlossberg is a former reporter and science writer who covered climate change and environmental policy and politics. She previously worked for the New York Times and the popular morning news column New York Today, as well as wrote columns for Bloomberg View. A graduate of... Read More →

Sunday October 20, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT
Bolling School Committee Room 2300 Washington St, Roxbury, MA, 02119

12:00pm EDT

BBF Unbound: Creature Feature
From Aesop's fables to Odysseus’s dog Argos, from Wilbur the pig to Boxer the horse, animals have been a part of human tales (or should we say “tails”?) for as long as stories have existed. But how do we write the true stories of animals? What can we learn from reading nonfiction about non-human creatures? What does memoir and narrative nonfiction about animals, or that includes animals, teach us about the human experience? How can relationships with animals transcend human connection? How can the inclusion of animals in our stories further complicate our understanding of a character? And why write or read about animals at all? In this session, panelists Matthew Gilbert, Sangamithra Iyer, Jessie Male, and Grace Talusan, led by moderator E.B. Bartels, will discuss how and why they, and other writers, integrate animals into their nonfiction, spanning the range from works solely centered on the animal experience to animals as supporting characters in a memoir.

avatar for E.B. Bartels

E.B. Bartels

E.B. Bartels graduated from Columbia University's School of the Arts with an MFA in creative nonfiction writing in 2014. Her essays have appeared in Catapult, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Toast, The Butter, Ploughshares online, and the anthology The Places We’ve... Read More →

avatar for Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan is a memoirist, essayist, journalist, and author who teaches writing at Tufts University. Also a teacher at GrubStreet, Talusan has had work appear in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe, and the Rumpus. A graduate of Tufts University and... Read More →
avatar for Jessie Male

Jessie Male

Jessie Male is a PhD candidate in English and disability studies at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on disability representation in contemporary memoir. Her work has been published in Guernica, Nerve, Refinery 29, Bustle, Palaver Journal, and other creative, academic... Read More →
avatar for Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert is the TV critic at the Boston Globe. Before that, he covered books and movies for the Globe, as well as celebrity and author interviews. Gilbert and Globe colleague Sarah Rodman do a weekly show about TV called “We Like to Watch.” He has also written for Slate... Read More →
avatar for Sangamithra Iyer

Sangamithra Iyer

Sangamithra Iyer is a writer and engineer who holds a BE in civil engineering from the Cooper Union, an MS in geotechnical engineering from UC Berkeley, and an MFA in creative writing from Hunter College. Iyer was an Emerging Writer Fellow at Aspen Summer Words and a finalist for... Read More →

Sunday October 20, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT
Roxbury Innovation Center Multipurpose Room 2300 Washington St, Boston, MA, 02119

1:30pm EDT

Back to the Land
There have been back-to-the-land movements in America ever since people started leaving the land in the first place. Today’s new crop of farmers is interested in sustainability, environmentalism, and social justice. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, returns to her roots in Boston to talk about Farming While Black, a manual for African-heritage people who want to “reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system.” Emmet van Driesche shares his experience in creating a meaningful and fulfilling life from farming in Carving Out a Living on the Land. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern looks at Latino immigrant farmers as they transition from farmworkers to farm owners in The New American Farmer. This eye-opening discussion of modern small-scale farming will be moderated by Glynn Lloyd, President and Founder of City Fresh Foods and board member of the Urban Farming Institute.

avatar for Glynn Lloyd

Glynn Lloyd

Glynn Lloyd is the founder and president of City Fresh Foods, an innovative food service operation that daily provides healthy meals to elders, school students, child care and other institutional clients. Lloyd has been actively involved in Boston’s urban community for the last... Read More →

avatar for Emmet Van Driesche

Emmet Van Driesche

Emmet Van Driesche is an editor, teacher, blogger, and owner of a Christmas tree farm in western Massachusetts. Through classes and his videos, he teaches the basics and techniques of wooden spoon carving, which he also documents on a blog about the overlaps of entrepreneurship and... Read More →
avatar for Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern is an assistant professor of food studies and is an affiliated faculty member in the departments of geography and women's and gender studies at Syracuse University. Her research and teaching broadly explore the interactions between food and racial justice and... Read More →
avatar for Leah Penniman

Leah Penniman

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. As co-executive... Read More →

Sunday October 20, 2019 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Bolling School Committee Room 2300 Washington St, Roxbury, MA, 02119

4:30pm EDT

Cities: Change Is the Only Constant
This session offers a fresh look at the issues around changing urban landscapes, gentrification, and community. Boston College professor Carlo Rotella’s The World Is Always Coming to an End uses a combination of journalism, memoir, and archival research to paint a portrait of a city in flux that challenges our assumptions about the meaning of neighborhoods and communities. Poet Kevin Coval teamed up with an artist for Everything Must Go, an illustrated collection of poems that celebrates his Chicago neighborhood before the process of displacement and reinvention took hold—a process being repeated in urban areas all across the country. In People Before Highways, Karilyn Crockett, Lecturer in Public Policy and Urban Planning at MIT, offers a case study for how an unlikely multiracial coalition of urban and suburban residents and activists stopped an interstate highway from being built in the heart of Boston. This thought-provoking session will be moderated by Lily Song, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Sponsored by the Wagner Foundation.

avatar for Lily Song

Lily Song

Lily Song is a lecturer in urban planning and design and senior research associate with the Transforming Urban Transport–Role of Political Leadership (TUT-POL) project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Her research focuses on the relations between urban... Read More →

avatar for Carlo Rotella

Carlo Rotella

Carlo Rotella is a nonfiction writer, academic, and journalist who writes for the New York Times Magazine and the Washington Post Magazine. Recipient of the 2007 Whiting Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award, Rotella has had his work appear in the New Yorker, Critical... Read More →
avatar for Karilyn Crockett

Karilyn Crockett

Karilyn Crockett is an independent scholar and the director of Economic Policy & Research for the City of Boston. She holds a PhD in American studies from Yale University. Crockett’s book, People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners and a New Movement for City Making... Read More →
avatar for Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is an award-winning poet and activist from Chicago known for his unique blend of personal experience and calls to action. He is the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and the cofounder of Louder than a Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, now one of the nation’s... Read More →


Sunday October 20, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Bolling School Committee Room 2300 Washington St, Roxbury, MA, 02119