Speakers Forum | KUOW News and Information

Speakers Forum

Thursday, 11:00 p.m. - midnight on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

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Courtesy of Heather Malcolm

It’s Thanksgiving week, and among the many things one might be thankful for, pie and whiskey could be high on your list. A group of writers led by Kate Lebo and Sam Ligon certainly thought so. They thought so much of that duo that they created the anthology “Pie & Whiskey: Writers under the Influence of Butter & Booze.”

Courtesy of Jon Shields

Do we teach civics anymore? Technically, yes, in the public school systems of all 50 states. We often call it government. But are these courses fulfilling the spirit of our country’s founding when it comes to civic responsibility? Thomas Jefferson had something like this in mind: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Courtesy of Workman Publishing

If you’re a regular listener to WNYC’s On The Media, you know that Brooke Gladstone is a force in journalism. You hear her commitment to accurate, nuanced reporting and analysis in everything that show does. She won’t accept any nonsense, even from her co-host, Bob Garfield.

Courtesy of Northeastern University-Seattle

The name Bill Ayers rings a bell for people of a certain age. He is one of the icons of '60s and '70s counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movements. As a young man he became a founder of the notorious leftist radical organization The Weather Underground.

One of the group's goals was to overthrow the U.S. government. They orchestrated a string of bombings of public offices. In 1970, three members were killed when a bomb they were building exploded. Ayers became a fugitive for a time after that incident.

David Neiwert and Knute Berger at University Lutheran Church
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Author David Neiwert would prefer to write books about whales at this point in his career.

Seriously. He’s done it. He says it’s much less stressful than writing about extremist groups.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Comic books are more popular now than they’ve ever been. Sales have been on the rise for years and keep climbing. They are also experiencing growth in diversity. One indication is the character Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.

Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager, a shapeshifter and a Muslim. One of her primary creators is the Seattle-based author Willow Wilson. (The G is silent.)

KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

There are so many great literary events in the Puget Sound area every month. As individuals, we make it to those we can. Sometimes we miss one we really wanted to attend. It’s the same for us here at Speakers Forum. But we’re especially grateful we didn’t miss this one.

Courtesy of Julian Johnson

Author Amy Tan is known for her portrayals of Chinese and Chinese-American lives, especially mother-daughter bonds. Her relationship with her own mother Daisy was fraught to say the least, but it also inspired her writing.

Courtesy of Seattle University

In the lead up to Seattle’s mayoral election on November 7, the candidates have been crisscrossing the city to debate and discuss their credentials. There have been moments of geniality and tension.

Seattle University hosted a conversation with contenders Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan. The tone was civil, and heated, at turns. If you haven’t made up your mind about who to vote for, you may find the tipping point you’re looking for here.

Courtesy of Morgen Schuler Photography

Ignite Seattle is a volunteer-powered event that started back in 2006. The concept is simple: Enlighten us, but make it quick! Puget Sounders of all stripes go on stage to share something that inspires them for five minutes.

The Jane Goodall Institute/Michael Neugebauer

Dr. Jane Goodall hasn’t been in one place for more than three weeks since October 1986. That’s when she says she went from being a scientist to an activist for the welfare of wild and captive chimpanzees. She now travels nearly 300 days a year.

Ijeoma Oluo, Kate Harding and Samhita Mukhopadhyay at Seattle First Baptist Church
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

On the night of November 8, 2016, many writers and journalists were preparing pieces on what it would mean for the United States to elect its first woman president. Those works obviously didn’t make it to print.

Participants at UW Reads the Constitution 2017
KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

Twelve years ago the University of Washington Libraries staff started a tradition. They invited UW students, staff, and the general public to join them on a given day to read the U.S. Constitution.

Author Franklin Foer at The Elliott Bay Book Company
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

If you find yourself checking your phone — a lot — or feeling phantom vibrations, there’s a good reason. Big technology companies (Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook to name a few) want your attention. They want to know what you’re thinking about, what you’re doing, and what you’re likely to do next.

Courtesy of Michael Violandi

Many of us spend large portions of our lives in cars. Many of us are annoyed by other people in their cars.

The fact is, human beings behind the wheels of their automobiles are dangerous. In 2015, over 35,000 Americans died in fatal car crashes. With the advent of texting while driving, those numbers are trending up. 

Claire Dederer and Vanessa Grigoriadis at University Lutheran Church
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

This talk by and discussion with author Vanessa Grigoriadis explores the complicated politics of modern sexuality. It pushes the conversation toward the establishment of healthier, more informed attitudes about sex and consent in an often confusing social landscape.

PERMISSION FOR ONE TIME USE, DO NOT REUSE
Courtesy of Alan Berner

The cover article of this year’s June issue of The Atlantic magazine concerned a woman called Lola. “My Family’s Slave” was written by Alex Tizon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American writer.

Lola had lived with the Tizon family and cared for them since before Alex Tizon was born. She had come with them from the Philippines to the United States. To Tizon and his siblings, it had always seemed like she was part of the family, until it didn’t.

Courtesy of Nation Books

Who are the most dangerous people in America? According to author John Nichols, the answer to that question includes the following: Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Elaine Chao, Kris Kobach and Rex Tillerson.

The list goes on to include over 40 members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Courtesy of Andrew Bannecker

Does anyone not know Nancy Pearl?

For years she’s told NPR and KUOW listeners what to read with a kind of care and insight that’s made her a household name. There’s also a decent chance her action figure is on your desk or bookshelf right now. 

Ashley Ahearn and Sally Jewell at The Mountaineers Program Center
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Chances are you’ve heard the name Sally Jewell in engineering, business, recreational, environmental or political news. Her career has touched on all of those areas, from her early days in the oil fields of Oklahoma to a long stretch in the banking industry; from a successful run as CEO of REI to becoming only the second woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. 

Marchers held signs at the Black Lives Matter rally in Seattle on Saturday, April 15, 2017.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, Seattle Public Library hosted a discussion of the factors that create inequality, repression and resistance.

Courtesy of Ben E. King / HBO

Author Tom Perrotta made his name in 1998 when, still unpublished, one of his manuscripts was picked up for movie treatment. The quirky tale told in “Election,” starring Mathew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, became a surprise hit. 

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Since 1994, the Seattle Arts & Lectures Writers in the Schools (WITS) program brings professional writers into classrooms to help student writers find their voices and hone their skills. 

Downtown Seattle taken from Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Flickr Photo/Dave Lichterman (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cyuYa3

It’s an exciting time to catch up on and get involved in envisioning the great public spaces that will help sustain our growing region. KUOW, The Seattle Public Library and Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development hosted this conversation with national and local experts to help the community at-large better understand the issues and opportunities we face. KUOW’s Posey Gruener moderated the discussion. The speakers include:

Courtesy of Larry Krackle

Last year around this time we presented a gathering of tales from a festival of storytelling at PowellsWood Garden, down in Federal Way, Washington. It was an ear-opening experience, not just for the occasional jet approaching Sea-Tac, but as a reminder of the power of well-told stories. 

Courtesy of Jenny Jimenez

Author Claire Dederer was 44-years-old and living a successful life — literary accomplishment, comfortable marriage, family and home — when something caught up to her. 

Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Yes, you were promised a jet pack. Your disappointment around that may still sting, or you may be more concerned about global warming, or a robot taking your job, or finding affordable housing. Or you might be reasonably concerned that the digital revolution will leave you somewhere on the global trash heap of history.

A new book will help you find out what’s happening now and next in technology and maybe how to stay ahead of the curve.

Mathematical physicist and educator Robbert Dijkgraaf on the importance of the 'pursuit of useless knowledge' in both the sciences and the humanities.
Courtesy of Andrea Kane/Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ USA

In 1939 the influential American education reformer Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.” In it he promoted the well-funded, free pursuit of scientific inquiry, arguing that great scientists were “driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.”

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

When an acclaimed novelist publishes their first new work in 20 years, people take notice.

When the first book was Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things,” the interest is especially intense. She was awarded the esteemed Booker Prize for the best novel in the English language in 1997.

Roy’s new work is “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” The novel concerns, as she suggests in the text itself, “the vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation.”

Courtesy of Democracy Now!

Journalist Amy Goodman has been an influential voice in independent media for the past 20 years. Her efforts to inform, defy and edify resonate with many audiences. She co-hosts the award winning program Democracy Now!, where she is often seen reporting from the front lines of progressive action.

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