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. The series is celebrating its 29th season in 2020.

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Upcoming Events

Format: 2/23/20

Texas Bound

Monday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.
Compelling stories and passionate acting, all literally from the heart of Texas.”
Southern Living   
Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Allison Tolman of Fargo and Emergence will read “Museum” by Naomi Shihab Nye and “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane” by Jenny Lawson. Christie Vela, Associate Director of Theatre Three and a Kitchen Dog Theater company member, will read “Puro Amor” by Sandra Cisneros. Ruben Carrazana, acclaimed actor, director, and writer, will read “Art of Translation” by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Directed by Tina Parker, Co-Artistic Director, Kitchen Dog Theater.

Moveable Feast Book Club: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Friday, February 28, 11:45 a.m.

Join fellow book lovers for lunch in the DMA’s Cook Boardroom as you enjoy the opportunity to delve more deeply into Anne Boyd Rioux’s examination of the enduring legacy of Little Women in her book Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters. The conversation will be facilitated by Dr. Randi Tanglen, Associate Professor of English, Director of the Gender Studies Program, and Director of the Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching at Austin College. Please note that this is a book discussion, not an author event.


Louise Erdrich

Sunday, March 8, 7:00 p.m.

In The Night Watchman, a new novel based on the extraordinary life of her grandfather, National Book Award–winning author Louise Erdrich explores themes of love and death with gravity, depth of feeling, sly humor, and elegant prose. Thomas Wazhashk is the factory night watchman who carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, DC. Fellow Chippewa and plant worker Pixie Paranteau is saving every penny to support her mother and brother; she makes the fateful trip to Minnesota to search for her sister, Vera, who has disappeared. Erdrich’s memorable characters grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature.


Anne Enright

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

From Man Booker Prize winner Anne Enright comes the brilliant and moving novel Actress, a story of  celebrity, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths. Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter Norah retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets—both her mother’s and her own. When her mother commits a bizarre crime as a result of her slipping grip on reality, Norah comes to understand the destructive love that binds an actress to her audience.


Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt

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

Written with grace and understanding and based on more than 20 in-depth interviews and stories, as well as personal reflections from Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt herself, The Gift of Forgiveness is about one of the most difficult challenges in life—learning to forgive. The book features experiences from those well known and unknown, including Elizabeth Smart, who learned to forgive her captors; Sue Klebold, whose son Dylan was one of the Columbine shooters, learning empathy and how to forgive herself; and Schwarzenegger Pratt’s challenges and path to forgiveness in her own life. 


James McBride

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

In partnership with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters

In September 1969, a church deacon shuffles into the courtyard of a housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .45 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, the first novel from James McBride since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters affected by the shooting—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways.


Erik Larson

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

Location: First United Methodist Church

Erik Larson, master of narrative nonfiction, delivers The Splendid and the Vile, a compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz. Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year, transporting readers to a time of true leadership, when—in the face when of unrelenting horror—Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together. Larson’s bestselling books include The Devil in The White City and In the Garden of Beasts.


A Moveable Feast Book Club: The Night Watchman

Thursday April 2, 11:45 a.m.

Join fellow book lovers for lunch in the DMA’s Cook Boardroom as you enjoy the opportunity to delve more deeply into Louise Erdrich’s new book about Native politics in the 1950s, The Night Watchman. The conversation will be facilitated by Dr. Jaina Sanga, who is the author of three works of fiction and a literary scholar who serves on the Board of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture; she is also a Fellow of the Institute. Please note that this is a book discussion, not an author event.


Richard Blanco

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

Selected by President Obama in 2013 as the fifth inaugural poet in US history, Richard Blanco is the youngest and first Latino, immigrant, gay person to serve in the role. Blanco characterizes the negotiation of cultural identity, community, and belonging in his award-winning poetry. His most recent collection, How To Love a Country, interrogates the American narrative and celebrates the still-unkept promise of its ideals. In celebration of National Poetry Month and the DMA’s new exhibition My|gration in the Center for Creative Connections, Blanco will debut an original commissioned poem inspired by a work of art in the collection.


Esther Safran Foer

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

Promotional Partner: Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, a poignant memoir by Esther Safran Foer, is her account of growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, a tragedy that loomed in the backdrop of daily life, felt but never discussed. When Foer learns that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust, she travels to the Ukraine, armed with only a black-and-white photo and a hand-drawn map, determined to find the shtetl where her father hid to survive during the war.