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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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.

Courtesy of Paul Bongaarts

Sometimes as Seattleites we can think that we’re more urban, but honestly we are mountain people. That’s who we are, and we need to own that in a real way and be intensely proud.

Because we don’t have anything to prove – being the people that live here – that makes us so awesome. We’re awesome in the summer, we’re awesome in the winter, we’re awesome all the time.


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Naomi Klein move past their shock at Trump's election at the Neptune Theatre
Courtesy of Debra Heesch

Journalist and author Naomi Klein is famous for her 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” The shock she explored there was the manipulation of international crisis situations to implement so-called neo-liberal, free market policies.

On a recent stop in Seattle, Klein considered another kind of shock. She read from her new book, “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.”

Courtesy of The Hachette Book Group

It’s still a little hard to believe, but 17 years ago a comedian famous for his contributions to Saturday Night Live ran to become a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, and won, barely. At first it appeared he had lost, but after a recount and a protracted legal dispute, Senator Al Franken went to Washington. And not because he’s such a funny guy.

Left to right: Sage Cook, Christina Joo, Kristin Leong, Joy Williamson-Lott, Saraswati Noel, Jesse Hagopian, Sharonne Navas and Nathan Simoneaux at Town Hall Seattle
Courtesy of Kristin Leong

What value do we attribute to education? It is common to hear how it changes lives, promotes imagination and creativity and invites opportunity. It is often a social endeavor, and thus encourages the wide sharing of ideas and knowledge.

The founders of Washington state clearly valued the concept of education. Article IX of our Constitution states:

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”

Courtesy of Joe Iano

If you love radio theatre you may find yourself seeking out the classics — online, on AM radio, or at your local library. There’s something about how those stories were told that still fascinates. They draw folks  into a reverie of imagination, suspense, drama and humor.

KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Dr. Martin Luther King’s phrase “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice” is often spoken of with a sense of solace in America. We tell ourselves that progress is being made and patience is necessary.

Twitter War vets Lindy West and Scaachi Koul at SPL
KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

Scaachi Koul, a Toronto-based writer, didn’t hold back when speaking in Seattle recently.

For starters, she thinks all non-savory pies are gross — especially America’s beloved apple pie.

“Hot stewed fruit? Bad. Bad. I don’t get it,” Koul said.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

The idea of getting up on stage may terrify most of us, but actor Jeffrey Tambor knew from a very young age that was exactly what he wanted to do.

As long as he can recall, he’s wanted to give people his autograph.

Bishop Scott Hayashi: 'Three men entered. One jumped behind the counter where I was standing, put a gun to my side and pulled the trigger. Pffft! It was that fast.'
Courtesy of Kathy Shorr

To say the least, the statistics surrounding gun violence in the United States are disturbing. On an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns. Seven of those are children.

For every person killed with guns, two more are injured.

Courtesy of Journeymen

Thirty-odd years ago Dr. Arne Rubinstein was a teenaged Australian embracing some risky behavior. Later on, he worked in emergency rooms where he saw more than enough of what happens when teenagers take risks.

Farmland near Ritzville, Washington.
Flickr Photo/John Westrock (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/GwCkwW

Ten years ago, University of Washington professor David Montgomery published his influential book “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.” One year later, he received a MacArthur Genius fellowship, and continued his research in geomorphology: “the branch of geology that is concerned with the structure, origin, and development of the topographical features of the earth's surface.”

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