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 Jamie Rand Imaging/Jamie Colman

Tens of thousands of people participated in the second annual Seattle Women’s March. The day started with a rally of fiery speeches to warm up participants on a chilly, rainy morning.

Courtesy of Carmen Maria Machado/Art Streiber

There have been so many momentous days recently. Today, for instance, women around the U.S. and the world (and their allies) are participating in the second annual Women’s March. Yesterday, Congress shut down the government due to differences over border security and immigration.

The Constitution of the United States in the rotunda of the National Archives, in Washington, DC.
Flickr Photo/MrTinDC (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7txMkC

The political climate in the United States is marked by ultra-partisanship. So it’s a good time to ask, how’s the Constitution holding up? A recent event brought together two people with a depth of political and jurisprudent experience to explore that question.

Courtesy of Seattle Colleges

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, the United States celebrates the birth of the great non-violence activist and civil rights leader. The federal holiday was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed the holiday.

Daniel Ellsberg (left) and co-defendant Anthony Russo talk to news reporters outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 1973, during the Pentagon Papers trial.
AP Photo/Staff

The acronym MAD stands for mutual assured destruction. The concept has been a cornerstone of U.S. military security policy since the creation of nuclear weapons. It's based on the theory that no super-power leader would start a nuclear war knowing Armageddon would be the result. To this day, that either helps you sleep at night or the opposite.

Journalist Maria Hinojosa at UW's Kane Hall
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

Maria Hinojosa and her team at Latino USA have been reporting on how Latinos and Hispanics experience and impact the United States since 1992. That ethnic group accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth from 2000 to 2014. The Pew Research Center predicts they will make up 24 percent of the population here by 2065.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

And now for something maybe completely unexpected. Tom Hanks wrote a book. The prolific actor credits writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron with encouraging his writing years ago on the set of “Sleepless in Seattle.” He later wrote a piece about a friend in the film business and ran it by Ephron, asking “Is this a thing?” She said yes, with some qualifications, and Hanks took her advice to heart.

Courtesy of Lloyd Montgomery

As we begin another new year in these United States of America, it’s an opportune time to listen in to the creative voices of descendants of the original inhabitants of these lands.

FILE - In this July 28, 2016, file photo, Khizr Khan, father of fallen Army Capt. Humayun Khan and his wife Ghazala speak during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Khizr Khan is an American citizen of Pakistani descent. He is perhaps most famous for the fact that he carries a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his breast pocket and for a speech he gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. 

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Looking back at a year that was tumultuous in so many ways, this talk by author Walter Isaacson stands out as something that has almost nothing to do with our modern day trials and tribulations. 

Courtesy of Jean Sherrard

For the past eleven years the crew of Town Hall Seattle’s "Short Stories Live" series has presented a celebration of storytelling they call "A Rogue’s Christmas."

Curator Jean Sherrard chooses seasonally-appropriate readings. It’s always a festive, thought-provoking and slightly devious gathering — just the thing to keep Christmas weird in Seattle.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a town hall meeting at Hillside Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire on Jan. 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Cvop2D

There’s a rap against Hillary Rodham Clinton: that she’s cold, robotic. That was certainly not the persona she presented on her visit to Seattle this week. If Clinton were a robot, she’d be the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em variety, with a healthy dash of reflective and forward-thinking feminist, doting grandmother and super-sharp political analyst.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Writer Isabel Allende has cast a spell on her readers since at least 1982, when she published her first major work “The House of the Spirts.” Her fiction, noted for elements of magic realism, has struck a deep chord. She has sold nearly 70 million books.

Courtesy of Susan Fried

What’s a progressive citizenry to do? It’s been over a year since President Donald Trump was elected. Liberal Seattleites reacted to that event (they call it “the incident” here) in various ways.

The individuals you’ll hear in these talks switched careers, took a road trip to conservative Oregon, reflected on the balance between parenting and activism, sought ways to confront family divisions, and took up boxing.

Courtesy of Spelman College/J.D. Scott

In 1997 Dr. Beverly Tatum published her acclaimed book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.” The work explores an enduring American reluctance to acknowledge the realities of racial identity development and racism. For the last 20 years, it has served as a catalyst in efforts to address those realities.

Esther Perel and Dan Savage at the Egyptian Theatre
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

It’s the holiday season, so oh what fun it is to offer you this moment in time when renowned sex advice columnist Dan Savage met renowned sex therapist Esther Perel for an extremely frank discussion of marriage and infidelity.

Keiko Green reads 'the garden at higo' at Ampersand Live
Courtesy of Forterra/Jen Au

Once a year Ampersand magazine hosts an evening of storytelling, poetry and performance that reflects upon the unique nature of life in the Northwest. The magazine comes under the umbrella of Forterra, an organization committed to making our lives here sustainable.

Courtesy of Penquin Press

Author and political commentator Lawrence O’Donnell was a teenager in 1968. He recalls the time in some detail. He was coming of age as someone drawn to politics and directly affected by the Vietnam War.

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.

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