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: 1/18/17

Texas Bound II: Fish Out of Water

Saturday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.

Octavio Solis, author and playwright whose plays have been produced across the country, will read his own work “The Cotton.” Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, and HBO TV series Enlightened) returns home to Dallas to read “Fish Story” by critically acclaimed author Rick Bass. Local theater and voice actress Lydia Mackay will read “The Marrying Kind” by Merrill Feitell, and film and TV star G. W. Bailey (Major Crimes, The Closer, M*A*S*H, and Police Academy  films) will read “The Invasion of the Martians,” a story by Robert Coover published recently in the New Yorker

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Chris Cleave & Jennifer Ryan

Monday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.

Chris Cleave’s instant New York Times bestseller, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, is an unforgettable novel about three lives entangled during World War II, and is inspired by the real-life love letters between Cleave’s grandparents. People named it a Book of the Week and said it is told “with dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion…a powerful portrait of war’s effects on those who fight and those left behind.” A historical novel based on Jennifer Ryan’s grandmother’s stories of World War II, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir follows the paths of five women as World War II forces them to defy their vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead “carry on singing.”

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George Saunders

Wednesday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.

In his highly anticipated first novel, National Book Award nominee George Saunders delivers a captivating tale about death, grief, and the power of familial love. Set at the dawn of the Civil War, Lincoln in the Bardo begins with President Lincoln’s son, Willie, falling ill and ultimately being laid to rest. Saunders charts the events of that evening, in which Willie finds himself in purgatory (what is known in Tibetan culture as the bardo). Saunders received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006.

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Mohsin Hamid & Shanthi Sekaran

Tuesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.

Having lived in New York, London, and Pakistan, award-winning author Mohsin Hamid is no stranger to leaving his home to create a new life in a new city. In his fifth and most exhilarating book yet, Exit West, Hamid follows a passionate love affair between an unlikely duo who leave their homeland to escape escalating violence there. Similarly, Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy gives voice to two young women whose fates are bound together through the love of a child, and deals with themes of displacement and building lives in a new country. 

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James Crawford

Thursday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.

James Crawford’s Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings delves into the biographies of 21 of the world’s most fascinating lost and ruined buildings, from the dawn of civilization to the cyber era. A unique guide to a world of vanished architecture, the book profiles such iconic structures as the Tower of Babel, the Bastille, and the Berlin Wall, illustrating how the lives of these structures represent the love and betrayal, catastrophe and hope, of each time period.

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Paul Watson

Tuesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.

Pulitzer Prize–winning author and photojournalist Paul Watson sheds light on a story intricately linked with the broken mast in the DMA’s signature painting The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church. Ice Ghosts weaves together the epic story of the Lost Franklin Expedition of 1845—whose two ships and crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice—with the modern tale of the scientists, divers, and local Inuit behind the incredible discovery of the flagship’s wreck in 2014.

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Adam Haslett

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

Imagine Me Gone, Adam Haslett’s latest novel, is a fiercely intimate story of a family facing the ultimate question: how far will we go to save the people we love the most? A 2016 Kirkus Prize finalist and National Book Award Longlist selection, Imagine Me Gone examines the impact of mental illness on a family, as told from the perspective of five different intricately rendered characters. Haslett is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Yale Law School, and recipient of the Berlin Prize. His short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist. 

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Erin and Philip C. Stead

Tuesday, April 4, 11:30 a.m.

The dynamic duo Erin and Philip Stead live and work side by side creating heartwarming stories such as A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. Erin’s forthcoming book Tony returns to themes of friendship and loyalty with the late poet Ed Galing’s tale of a boy and his horse. Philip’s latest, Samson in the Snow, highlights the power of simple acts of kindness to bring hope and light to even the coldest world. Their talk is at 11:30 a.m. and is designed for families and children as well as the young-at-heart.

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Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Tuesday, April 11, 7:30 p.m.

The Nest is Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel that garnered a seven-figure advance and spent more than 12 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It dissects the juicy dynamics of the Plumb family, composed of four adult siblings and a distant mother who holds the purse strings to their inheritance. When the oldest sibling, Leo, maims a teenage girl in a drunk-driving crash, the mother uses money from “The Nest” to pay for the girl’s medical needs and to keep her quiet. Resentment mounts as each sibling crafts his or her way to get Leo to repay the money he owes them. Sweeney is currently writing the screenplay for the film adaptation.

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Stephen Tobolowsky

Tuesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.

In My Adventures with God, Stephen Tobolowsky shares a funny, introspective collection of short stories about love, triumph, and catastrophe, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is God. Filtered through his signature sharp wit, he also provides a structure from which to evaluate our own lives and relationship with a higher power. Tobolowsky has appeared in more than 100 movies and more than 200 television shows, notably Mississippi Burning, Groundhog Day, Glee, The Goldbergs, and Silicon Valley.

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