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 30th season in 2021.

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Upcoming Events

Format: 4/22/21

Virtual Event: Abi Daré and Andrea Lee

Tuesday, April 27, 7:00 p.m. CST
In conversation with Jaina Sanga
Pre-recorded virtual event
Recording available through May 11
Promotional Partners: World Affairs Council and The Dock Bookshop
Two award-winning novelists with riveting stories set in Nigeria and Madagascar, cultures featured in the DMA’s exhibition Moth to Cloth: Silk in Africa
Abi Daré’s celebrated novel The Girl with the Louding Voice is the unforgettable, inspiring story of Adunni, a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself. An instant New York Times bestseller and a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick, this story exemplifies how one courageous young woman’s spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances can inspire us all to reach for our dreams and maybe even change the world. 

From National Book Award–nominated writer Andrea Lee, Red Island House is an evocative novel about loyalty, identity, and heritage that follows two decades in the marriage between an African American professor and her wealthy Italian husband. Shay is surprised when her husband, Senna, decides to build a spectacular house on an idyllic beach in the tropical island nation of Madagascar. As she becomes the somewhat reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, she finds herself caught between her privileged American upbringing and education, and her connection to the continent of her ancestors.


Virtual Event: Texas Bound

Friday, April 16, 7:00 p.m. CST
A recording will be available through April 30.
Get up close and personal with Texas Bound veteran and Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden, who gives a masterful performance of "Women & Horses (1976)," a powerful story by New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Wetmore. Matthew McConaughey makes his inaugural Texas Bound debut with a hilarious reading of an excerpt from "Outlaw Logic," from his recent memoir Greenlights. Dallas actors Maryam Baig, Kenya Flippin, and Chris Ramirez join the star-studded lineup reading stories from Dallas authors Jenny Bhatt and LaToya Watkins, as well as Austin-based writer Dagoberto Gilb. 

"Compelling stories and compassionate acting, all literally from the heart of Texas." —Southern Living  


Virtual Event: Gabriela Garcia and Kaitlyn Greenidge

Monday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. CST
In conversation with author Mira Jacob
Recording available through May 5
Two highly anticipated novels about women defying past and present expectations to experience what it truly means to be free 

Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt traces a lineage of women from 19th-century Cuba to present-day Miami and Mexico, addressing issues of addiction, displacement, and the legacy of trauma. In present-day Miami, Jeanette, daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, is battling addiction. Determined to learn more about her family history, she travels to Cuba to visit her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. 

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new novel Libertie follows a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn who yearns for a life different than that of her physician mother. Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and strives to forge her own path. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal, she accepts, only to discover that she must fight for her freedom. 



Virtual Event: Pip Williams

Tuesday, May 18, 7:00 p.m. CST
In conversation with author Simon Winchester
Recording available through June 1
Set during the height of the women's suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is a novel about the magic of growing up in a world of words. At its heart is the story of Esme, a young woman who has grown up in the “Scriptorium,” where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers work to select words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme takes it upon herself to collect and preserve words that have been neglected or discarded by the male lexicographers who are shaping the English language.
Inspired by actual events, Williams delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to create a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world. 

Virtual Event: Daniel James Brown

Tuesday, May 25, 7:00 p.m. CST
In partnership with World Affairs Council
Recording available through June 8
Daniel James BrownNew York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, once again reveals himself to be a master of narrative nonfiction with his latest historical page-turner. Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in WWII  is a heartbreaking and eye-opening account of four Japanese American families whose sons volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, deploying to the frontlines of Europe while their immigrant parents were forced to shutter businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to life in concentration camps on US soil. Based on Brown's extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists, as well as on deep archival research, Facing the Mountain is a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and courage during one of the darkest moments in American history.  

Virtual Event: Aarón Sánchez

Monday, June 1, 7:00 p.m. CST
Recording available through June 15
Before Chef Aarón Sánchez rose to fame on shows like MasterChef and Chopped, he was a restless Mexican American son in El Paso, Texas, raised by a fiercely determined and talented woman who was a successful chef and restaurateur in her own right—she is credited with bringing Mexican cuisine to the New York City dining scene. Sánchez delves into his formative years with remarkable candor, injecting his story with adrenaline and revealing how he fell in love with cooking and started a career in the fast-paced culinary world.
This Artful Feastings event includes a demonstration by Chef Sánchez on how to make the best guacamole, as well as a short curatorial talk by Dr. Mark A. Castro, The Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art, about thematically related works of art in the DMA’s collection.   

"Aarón’s journey is an absolute page-turner, with gritty stories and hilarious anecdotes.” —Gordon Ramsay 


Virtual Event: Hilary Mantel 

Tuesday, June 8, 7:00 p.m. CST
Pre-recorded event 
In conversation with Kate Mosse, bestselling author and Founder Director of the Women's Prize for Fiction
Recording available through June 22
Promotional partner: KERA 
With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize–winning novels, Wolf Hall  and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision.  Eagerly awaited and eight years in the making, The Mirror & the Light  completes Cromwell’s journey from self-made man to one of the most feared and influential figures of his time. 
Hilary Mantel’s works have sold over 5 million copies worldwide and been translated into 35 languages. 

 “The Mirror & the Light  marks a triumphant end to a spellbinding story." —NPR 



Virtual Event: Annette Gordon-Reed

Tuesday, June 15, 7:00 p.m. CST
In conversation with Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers University
In partnership with World Affairs Council
Recording available through June 29
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and a MacArthur fellowship, among many other honors, Annette Gordon-Reed is considered one of the nation’s preeminent historians.
Although stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Annette Gordon-Reed—acclaimed historian and Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people—forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state with her latest work On Juneteenth. Combining personal anecdotes with American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African Americans played an integral role in the Texas story. 

Rescheduled: Yotam Ottolenghi

Monday, October 4, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Eisemann Center, Hill Performance Hall 

In conversation with Chad Houser, Cafe Momentum Founder/CEO/Executive Chef 

For renowned chef and New York Times bestselling cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi, food is about more than what we eat. It is about joy, pleasure, and surprise. It is about a sense of place, home, and community. In his latest cookbook, Flavor, this international culinary influencer reveals how flavor is created and amplified through more than 100 innovative, delicious plant-based recipes; he also oversees the photography himself. His revolutionary approach to vegetable cooking showcases low-effort, high-impact dishes designed for the relaxed cook. Based in London, Ottolenghi spends much of his time creating and testing recipes for his weekly column in the Guardian and his monthly column in the New York Times. Six London restaurants, nine bestselling cookbooks, and millions of devotees of the “Ottolenghi effect” have transformed the Israeli-British chef into the leader of a culinary juggernaut. 


Rescheduled: David Sedaris

Thursday, May 26, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
Location: McFarlin Auditorium, Southern Methodist University
All purchased tickets have been transferred to the NEW rescheduled 2022 date.
In partnership with KERA

One of America’s pre-eminent humor writers, David Sedaris returns to Dallas for the eleventh consecutive year to read new and unpublished material. He is the master of satire and one of today’s most observant writers addressing the human condition. Beloved for his personal essays and short stories, Sedaris is the author of Me Talk Pretty One DayLet’s Explore Diabetes with Owls and Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), among many others. Calypso, his latest collection of essays, is a New York Times bestseller. Sedaris’s original audio pieces can often be heard on the public radio show This American Life.