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: 1/19/18

Matt de la Peña & Loren Long

Sunday, January 21, 1:30 p.m.

Award-winning author Matt de la Peña and author-illustrator Loren Long present a new classic: Love, a lyrical story about the bond that connects all humans. This heartfelt message paired with evocative illustrations will resonate with all ages. Matt de la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street won the 2016 Newbery Medal and was both a Caldecott Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, as well as a New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2015. Loren Long, perhaps best known for his New York Times bestselling picture book series Otis, is also the illustrator of President Obama’s #1 New York Times bestselling picture book Of Thee I Sing.


Selected Shorts: For Better and For Worse: Tales of Marriage

Saturday, January 27, 7:30 p.m.

For Better and For Worse is an evening of tales about marriage. Host and reader Jane Kaczmarek is best known for her role as Lois on Malcolm in the Middle, for which she received seven Emmy nominations, as well as nominations for the Golden Globe and SAG Awards. Michael Cerveris is the Tony Award–winning Broadway star of Fun Home and Assassins, with film and television credits that include Fringe, Treme, The Good Wife, and Detours. Maria Tucci has appeared on Broadway in Mary Stuart, Night of the Iguana, The Little Foxes, The Great White Hope, and many other productions. Her many film and television credits include To Die For and Law & Order. 


Ronald C. White, Jr.

Sunday, January 28, 4:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Arts & Letters Live and First Presbyterian Church

Award-winning author and historian Ronald C. White captures the essence of the sixteenth commander-in-chief in A. Lincoln, a biography that delves deep into the writings of the president known for constant correspondence and a top hat full of notes. Through focusing on tangible written sources, White develops an understanding of the strong moral compass, intel­lectual curiosity, and comfort with ambiguity that defined Lincoln’s life. White will talk on “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the Religion of Lincoln.” A. Lincoln is a New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times bestseller.


Jhumpa Lahiri

Tuesday, January 30, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Temple Emanu-El, Olan Sanctuary

In 2000 Jhumpa Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize for her debut story collection Interpreter of Maladies, and was later awarded the 2017 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Her first novel, The Namesake, was a New York Times Notable Book and adapted as a film by director Mira Nair. The Clothing of Books (2017) is a short personal meditation on the art of the book jacket. To write In Other Words (2016), an autobiographical work that investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, Lahiri moved to Rome with her family seeking full immersion, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world. The New York Times Book Review calls it “gorgeous . . . the most unusual of self-portraits.” 


Jojo Moyes

Saturday, February 3, 7:30 p.m.

New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes returns with Still Me, a continuation of the story of Louisa Clark, the bright, inquisitive, and well-loved heroine of Me Before You and After You. Me Before You was turned into the popular 2016 movie of the same name starring Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones). In Still Me, Louisa is thrown into New York high society, struggling to reconcile with loss, past relationships, and self-identity amidst the complications of her new surroundings. Moyes is a two-time winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and her works have been translated into 43 languages.


Denise Kiernan

Wednesday, February 7, 7:30 p.m.

Denise Kiernan’s The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home explores the drama and tragic struggles experienced by the famous Vanderbilt family inside the Biltmore House. This story that spans world wars, the Jazz Age, and the Depression features a captivating cast of real-life characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. Kiernan’s previous book The Girls of Atomic City was named a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller. 


Paul Auster

Sunday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.

Bestselling author Paul Auster’s newest novel, 4 3 2 1—a sweeping story of birthright and pos­sibility, of love and life—explores the four possible life paths of Archibald Isaac Ferguson. Each of the four Fergusons has different relation­ships, family fortunes, athletic skills, and intellectual passions, and all four fall under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman. Each Fergusons’ plea­sures and pains create an unforgettable tour de force that tenderly combines “what ifs” with the reality of growing up in New York in the 1950s and 60s. This acclaimed novel is a New York Times bestseller and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. 


Shawn Achor

Tuesday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.

In the highly anticipated follow-up to his New York Times bestsellers The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness, Shawn Achor reveals in his latest book that success and happiness are not competitive sports. Rather, they depend almost entirely on how well we connect with, relate to, and learn from each other. Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being illustrates how just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of human potential—performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability, and health—is influenced by those around us. A native Texan who spent twelve years at Harvard University, Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. His TED Talk is one of the most popular of all time, with over 13 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. 



Wednesday, February 21, 7:30 p.m.

Conspirare is a Grammy-winning and internationally recognized choir with a reputation for “expanding the boundaries of choral performance” (Wall Street Journal). In 1998 Matthew Shepard, a young gay student at the University of Wyoming, was kidnapped, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. Approaching the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death, Conspirare’s Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson composed Considering Matthew Shepard, which earned a 2017 Grammy nomination and a standing ovation at Boston Symphony Hall, and features nearly 30 singers and a chamber ensemble. Johnson weaves together a wide variety of soulful and poetic texts in creating a performance that the Washington Post praised by saying, “[It] demonstrates music’s capacity to encompass, transform and transcend tragedy.” Audiences describe this work as “brilliant,” “innovative,” and “gripping.”  


Amy Bloom

Monday, February 26, 7:30 p.m.

White Houses, a triumph of historical fiction from author Amy Bloom, tells the story of the unexpected affair be­tween Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena “Hick” Hickok, who meets the future first lady in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. As their connection deepens into intimacy, “Hick” moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. Additionally, “Hick” comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend. Amy Bloom is a National Book Award final­ist, a National Book Critics Circle Award nominee, and author of the New York Times bestselling novels Away and Lucky Us