Arts & Letters Live

Arts & Letters Live is a literary and performing arts series for all ages that features award-winning authors and performers of regional, national, and international acclaim. The series is recognized for its creative multidisciplinary programming—combining literature with visual arts, music, and film—and for commissioning new work from musicians, dancers, and poets, inspired by works of art in the Museum's collection and special exhibitions.



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Upcoming Events

Format: 6/5/16

Elizabeth Gilbert: Creative Living

Tuesday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s #1 New York Times bestseller Big Magic, she shares her wisdom and a unique perspective on creativity. She offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration, illustrating how to embrace curiosity and how to tackle what we most love while facing down what we most fear. Whether you’re looking to write a book, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse everyday life with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder. Gilbert is also the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love


Kate Tempest: Musician, Poet, Playwright, and Novelist

Friday, May 13, 7:30 p.m.

Award-winning poet and hip-hop artist Kate Tempest’s electrifying debut novel, The Bricks That Built the Houses, portrays the beating heart of London in a multi-generational tale of drugs, desire, and belonging. Tempest won the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2013 for her poem Brand New Ancients, which was conceived as a performance piece. Her album Everybody Down was a 2014 Mercury Prize finalist, with each track corresponding to a chapter in The Bricks That Built the Houses.


Amy Stewart: Crime-Fighting Sisters

Tuesday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Amy Stewart’s novel is based on the true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs, Constance Kopp, and her two sisters. In Girl Waits with Gun, the three sisters get into a car accident and conflict arises while discussing payment for the damages. They were tormented for almost a year until the sheriff enlists Constance’s help in convicting the man. The first book in a new series, Stewart begins in 1914 and will tell the entire life story of Constance, including her intelligence work during World War I, and later starting her own detective agency. 


Drew Daywalt: Colorful Characters

Sunday, May 22, 3:00 p.m.

Join children’s author and Hollywood screenwriter Drew Daywalt to hear about The Day the Crayons Came Home, the hysterically colorful companion to the bestselling picture book of the past year, The Day the Crayons Quit! From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, who is stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away, each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box. 


Dacher Keltner: Survival of the Kindest

Tuesday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley; he served as the scientific consultant for the highly acclaimed Pixar film Inside Out. He helped emphasize the neuropsychological findings that human emotions are mirrored in interpersonal relationships and can be significantly moderated by them. He will highlight key insights from his research and how it plays out in the film, showing film clips as illustrations. He is also the author of the bestseller Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.


Sherman Alexie: The Power of a Name

Saturday, June 4, 11:30 a.m.

Families – kick off your summer reads together with Sherman Alexie, National Book Award-winning author, poet, and filmmaker, talking about his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr., which celebrates the special relationship between father and son and the process of picking out a name. Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.


Justin Cronin: Literary Super Thrillers

Friday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.

Justin Cronin’s first book in The Passage trilogy generated a bidding war among publishers, ultimately selling for more than $3 million. The first two novels in the series depict the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. This bestselling apocalyptic series races to its breathtaking finale with City of Mirrors; it begins with quiet calm on the horizon and challenges the reader to determine if the silence indicates the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness. Also recommended: Emily St. John Mandel


Vinh Chung: Rescue to Redemption

Monday, June 20, 7:30 p.m.

Vinh Chung’s powerful and poignant memoir, Where the Wind Leads, follows Vinh and his family on their journey from pre-war Vietnam, through pirate attacks on a lawless sea, to a miraculous rescue by a World Vision boat and a new home in Fort Smith, Arkansas. There Vinh struggled against poverty, discrimination, and a bewildering language barrier—yet still managed to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Where the Wind Leads is Chung’s reminder to people everywhere that the American dream, while still possible, carries with it a greater responsibility.


Emily St. John Mandel: Hope & Art After the Apocalypse

Friday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.

Emily St. John Mandel’s bestselling novel Station Eleven centers on a nomadic group of actors roaming a post-apocalyptic North America in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. The Traveling Symphony go from town to town and risk everything for the sake of preserving art and humanity, striving to live honorably in a damaged world. A 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Station Eleven is equal parts mystery novel and post-apocalyptic tale. The characters’ passionate pursuit of preserving “the best about the world” infuses the story with hope.