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.

Flickr Photo/TED Conference (CC-BY-NC-ND)

"Well, that makes total sense!"

That’s what you might say after listening a while to our guest Simon Sinek this week on Speakers Forum.

It’s the little things he points out, like why checking your cell phone constantly during your kid’s baseball game (or your meeting with a colleague) is a bad idea. The little things add up, sometimes resulting in the makings of a leader.

Nate Gowdy Photography/nategowdy.com

What sex were you assigned at birth, boy or girl? It’s a simple question. Too simple sometimes. Not everyone fits neatly into the role they were assigned. Boys and girls are not all the same. A transgender person is someone “whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth."

KUOW Photo

For the average NPR listener, hearing the name Garrison Keillor may summon up the sound of his voice: deep and soothing, wise and mischievous, but with a palpable tinge of sadness. Keillor spoke at Seattle’s University Bookstore on June 12.

Sandra Tsing Loh's book "Madwoman in the Volvo."

We've all done it — that crazy RV trip to Burning Man. It leads to all sorts of problems. In hindsight, maybe not a great idea, but you make the best with what you've got, right? Well, perhaps, if you’re anything like our guest this week. Her trip proved to be the start of an arduous journey, but it makes for a great story. 

Sandra Tsing Loh’s new book is “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” In it she takes on her experience of menopause.

Flickr Photo/Senate Democrats (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week on Speakers Forum, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tells the story of her life and her vision of a progressive America. Warren is known as an advocate for consumer protection. She was largely responsible for the hard-won establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Flickr Photo/Downing Street (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The financial crisis of 2008 is widely referred to as the worst fiscal disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It threatened large financial institutions with collapse and resulted in bank bailouts and downturns in stock and housing markets around the world.

Nomi Prins' new book, "All the Presidents' Bankers"

In Nomi Prins' new book "All the Presidents' Bankers," she delves into over a century of close ties between the White House and Wall Street. Using archival correspondence, she explores the ways a small group of influential people, elected and not, has shaped American policy at home and abroad. The book details economic expansion, contraction and crises from the panic of 1907 to today, in the context of what Prins calls America’s genealogy of power.

Flickr Photo/Commonwealth Club (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Tony Kushner is the author of "Angels in America," a two-part play inspired by the tragic rise of the AIDS epidemic. "Angels" debuted on Broadway in 1993, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony award for Best Play that same year.

Seattle’s Intiman Theatre will be staging a production of "Angels" this summer, opening August 12.

Kushner spoke with writer, editor and It Gets Better project co-founder Dan Savage at Town Hall Seattle on May 10.

Barbara Ehrenreich Talks 'Living With A Wild God'

May 8, 2014
Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Living With a Wild God."

Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist and activist known for her wry, acerbic, probing and prolific writings. She writes essays and articles related to social injustice and books on subjects she says don’t make money but fascinate her.

In 2001, Ehrenreich was undergoing breast cancer treatment and putting her papers in order simultaneously. She calls the timing “viciously appropriate.”

Among the many boxes from a lifetime of writing she re-discovered a journal she’d kept as an adolescent. Moved by the questions she found there — "Why are we here? What’s going on in the universe? What is all this about?" — she promised to try to better understand her youthful experience if she recovered.

The result is her latest book, "Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything." She calls it a “sort of philosophical memoir, or a metaphysical thriller.”

Ehrenreich spoke with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman at Town Hall Seattle on April 21.

'Wish You Happy Forever' With Jenny Bowen

May 1, 2014
Jenny Bowen's book "Wish You Happy Forever."

In 1996 Jenny Bowen was in Los Angeles living a comfortable and, she said, not very meaningful existence.

Reading the New York Times one Saturday morning, she and her husband were disturbed by a photo of a little girl in a Chinese orphanage. Bowen’s determination to do something about what she’d seen would change her life, and ultimately the lives of orphans across China.

Bowen founded the organization Half the Sky to better the lives of orphan children living in China’s welfare institutions. Half the Sky operates programs for orphans from birth to adulthood.

All offer loving care, stimulation, education, all the kinds of things a child who lives in a family may have. The Chinese government has invited Half the Sky to train every child welfare worker in the country.

Jenny Bowen spoke at Town Hall Seattle on April 1. She is also the author of a book, "Wish You Happy Forever."

Flickr Photo/Kansas City Public Library

When they were little, they were called Benny and Jenny. They were inseparable. But as they grew up, their lives took different paths. Benjamin Franklin left home; his sister Jane Franklin never did. He taught himself to write; she couldn’t spell. He signed the Declaration and the Constitution; she became a wife, mother, and ultimately, a widow.

But they maintained a correspondence throughout their lives, and historian Jill Lepore says Franklin loved no one more than his sister. Lepore shed light on this story at Seattle’s Town Hall on October 9.

This story originally aired on December 12, 2013.

Kshama Sawant On Why It's Time For Socialism In Seattle

Apr 17, 2014
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Kshama Sawant is the first socialist on Seattle’s City Council. Last year, she ran on a campaign platform of raising the minimum wage to $15, taxing the wealthy and rent control.

She spoke with The Stranger’s Charles Mudede about why now is the time for socialism in Seattle. This talk was recorded at Town Hall on March 18, 2014.

The Untold Story Of War With Ann Jones

Apr 10, 2014
Ann Jones' book, "They Were Soldiers."

Battle scars are not always visible.

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects almost 30 percent of soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Journalist Ann Jones researched how war affects people’s minds by following troops in the Middle East. Her new book is called “They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars: The Untold Story.”

In it, Jones also looks at how war touches those close to soldiers: spouses, children, doctors and friends. She spoke at Town Hall on March 18, 2014.

‘Our Right To Be Cold’ With Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Apr 3, 2014
Flickr Photo/Michael Ignatieff (CC BY-NC-ND)

“We have to fight for our right to be cold.”

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an Inuit activist who tackles issues indigenous people are facing, including pollution and sustainability. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on March 11, 2014, as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

‘My Beloved World’ By Sonia Sotomayor

Mar 27, 2014
Sonya Sotomayor's book, "My Beloved World."

Sonia Sotomayor is the 111th justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s also its first Hispanic and third female justice. In her memoir, “My Beloved World,” Sotomayor details her childhood struggle with diabetes, her family life and her drive to become a lawyer.

Sotomayor spoke at Town Hall on March 10, 2014. The talk was moderated by Eric Liu.

Pages