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.

A. Scott Berg's book "Wilson."

It’s been a century since Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, and the president has a compelling history. He was 10 years old by the time he learned to read, and yet he ultimately became a scholar and the president of Princeton University.

He led the United States through WWI and helped establish the League of Nations. A serious stroke left his entire left side paralyzed, and his disability became the argument for the 25th Amendment.

A. Scott Berg’s new biography of Wilson came out earlier this fall. Berg spoke on September 18 at Town Hall in a talk moderated by KUOW’s Steve Scher.

China is listed as a country with one of the highest rates of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health services often carry a stigma, though that’s starting to change. The government recently passed the country’s first national mental health law.

Michael Phillips has lived and worked in China since 1985 at the end of the Cultural Revolution. He discussed China’s mental health landscape at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall as part of the graduate school lecture series on October 15.

Sean Howe's book "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story."

Nearly half a century ago, a diverse group of characters began to capture children’s hearts: Spider-Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. The epic Marvel Comics universe has been a massive force in pop culture; inspiring countless books, films and becoming a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Sean Howe chronicles the rise of this phenomenon in “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.”  Howe spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on October 17, 2012.

Amanda Lindhout's memoir "A House in the Sky."

As a child, Amanda Lindhout dreamed about the exotic places she saw in National Geographic.

In her twenties, she traveled all over the world — usually alone, always on a shoestring budget with just a backpack. She trekked through more than 50 countries, and in 2008 she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, as a freelance journalist where she was abducted. For 15 months, she survived abuse by imagining herself elsewhere. 

After her release, Lindhout founded the Global Enrichment Foundation, a humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women in developing countries.

Lindhout spoke about her recent memoir “A House in the Sky,” along with her co-author Sara Corbett at Town Hall on September 16.

Flickr Photo/Armando Torrealba

WordPress.com is the 15th most-trafficked website in the world. It’s also a unique workplace. Everyone works from home, employees use blogs and chat instead of email, and there are no schedules.

Scott Berkun reports on his year at WordPress, including lessons he learned about leadership, productivity, and the evolution of business. He spoke at Town Hall on September 19.

Dean R. Owen's book "November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy"

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Journalist Dean R. Owen collected interviews from notable civil rights leaders, White House staff and others connected to Kennedy for his book, “November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”

Owen spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 14, 2013. He was joined by Patricia Baillargeon, a contributor to his book who served as assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard's book "State of the World 2013."

The buzzword “sustainable” has been around for years — so long that it’s nearly begun to lose its meaning. In order to chart a true sustainable future, we need to make changes to our lifestyles that are more drastic than simply composting or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard are co-authors of the book “State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?” They spoke on September 16 at Town Hall. The talk was moderated by Grist founder Chip Giller.

Ramez Naam's book, "The Infinite Resource."

With so many global challenges — climate change, overpopulation, natural-resource depletion — Ramez Naam argues that the only solution is innovation. Naam is a computer scientist who spent a decade at Microsoft, where he helped develop early versions of Outlook and Internet Explorer. He’s currently adjunct faculty at Singularity University.

Flickr Photo/Elevate Festival

What is the future of food? How can it sustain us? Vandana Shiva is an environmental and anti-globalization activist. Throughout her career, she’s fought for changes in agriculture practices, among other causes. Her latest book is called “Making Peace with the Earth.” She spoke at Town Hall on September 12, 2013, in a talk sponsored by YES! Magazine.

Ralph Richard Banks' book "Is Marriage for White People?"

Though it was once the norm to get hitched right out of high school, marriage has declined throughout American society. This development is the most pronounced among African Americans, and black women are more than three times as likely as white women never to marry. When black women do marry, they are more likely than any other group to wed a man who is less educated or earns less money than they do.

Flickr Photo/David Sifry

Amy Tan’s mother wanted her to become a doctor and a concert pianist. Instead, Tan chose to write fiction, a career that was out of line with her Chinese immigrant parents’ expectations.

Tan’s novels include “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “Saving Fish From Drowning,” all of which are New York Times bestsellers.

In this talk, recorded at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall on January 12, 2012, Tan talks about the genesis of creativity, different forms of creative expression and how her own creative process has evolved.

Peggy Orenstein's book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter."

Pink is no longer just a color for young girls — it’s a lifestyle. It celebrates girlhood, but more alarmingly, it fuses girlhood to an obsession with appearance, argues Peggy Orenstein.

Orenstein, an author and the mother of a young girl, was shocked by today’s “princess culture” that forces girls to value material objects and looking pretty over individuality. To research this phenomenon, Orenstein braved toddler beauty pageants, Disneyland and Miley Cyrus concerts, and her resulting book is a tough examination of the girlie-girl culture and its effect on young girls’ identities and futures.

Orenstein spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on February 15, 2012.

Tom Kizzia's book "Pilgrim's Wilderness."

Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia spent a decade following the Pilgrims, a modern-day Alaska pioneer family. With his wife and fifteen children, Papa Pilgrim masqueraded as a homespun Christian family man. Over time, however, Kizzia reveals that this father was actually a sociopath.

Kizzia spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 8.

There are consequences to all of our actions — positive and negative, large and small, delayed and immediate.

Biopsychologist Susan Schneider talks about how consequences follow certain scientific principles. She’s the author of “The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World.” She spoke at Town Hall on July 11, 2013.

Joseph Ellis' book "Revolutionary Summer."

In the summer of 1776, 13 colonies seceded from the British Empire. The British sent the largest armada across the Atlantic to quell the rebellion; and a revolution begans.

Historian Joseph Ellis offers a new perspective on the Revolutionary War in his latest book, “Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence.” Ellis spoke at Town Hall on July 10.

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