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 28th season in 2019.

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Upcoming Events

Format: 10/14/19

Benjamin Moser

Monday, October 14, 7:30 p.m.

In conversation with author Ben Fountain

In Sontag: Her Life and Work, Ben Moser delves into the life of one of the most emblematic voices of the 20th century: Susan Sontag—novelist, activist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, and one of the most influential critics of her generation. Sontag left a legacy of writing—on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, and more. Drawing from the writer’s restricted archives and interviews with those who have remained silent on her until now (including Annie Leibovitz), Sontag crafts a definitive portrait of the writer and explores the insecurity behind her formidable public face. Moser was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle award and a recipient of the 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship.


Pico Iyer

Wednesday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Pico Iyer’s memoir Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells is a moving meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief that explores Japanese history and culture. Drawn back to Japan by the sudden death of his father-in-law, Iyer grapples with the question we all have to live with: how to hold on to the things we love, even though we know that we—and they—are dying. An acclaimed travel writer and essayist for Time since 1982, Iyer has written two novels and eight works of nonfiction, and has contributed to the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, the New Yorker, and more than 200 other publications.


Ruta Sepetys

Tuesday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. The New York Times Book Review hailed her as a “champion of the interstitial people so often ignored—whole populations lost in the cracks of history.” Her newest novel, The Fountains of Silence, is an epic, heart-wrenching story about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence, inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain. When Dallas high-society teen Daniel Matheson and his family arrive in Madrid, photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family's obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War. While his father conducts business with Franco, Daniel makes it his mission to bring to light the atrocities the world has ignored.



John Grisham

Thursday, October 24, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, Hill Performance Hall

In conversation with author and lawyer Talmage Boston

The Guardians, #1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham’s latest legal thriller, delivers pulse-pounding suspense coupled with some of his most inventive twists and turns yet. In a small Florida town, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was murdered as he worked late one night. With no clues, no witnesses, and no real suspects, the police wrongfully convict Quincy Miller, a young black man and former client. Lawyer-minister Cullen Post sets out to clear Miller’s name, ending up with more than he bargained for. A portion of ticket sales for this event will go to The Innocence Project, which aims to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. 


Lori Gottlieb

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

In conversation with author Sarah Hepola

Psychotherapist, advice columnist, and New York Times bestselling author Lori Gottlieb’s new book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a thought-provoking look behind the scenes of her life as a therapist—where her patients are looking for answers, and so is she. Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, offering a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them. Lori Gottlieb appears as a frequent expert on mental health in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, and NPR. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is in development for a television series with Eva Longoria and ABC.


A Moveable Feast Book Club: Pico Iyer's Autumn Light

Wednesday, November 6, 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Join fellow book lovers for lunch and conversation in the DMA’s Cook Boardroom to delve more deeply into Pico Iyer’s memoir Autumn Light: A Season of Fire and Farewells, a moving meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief that also explores Japanese history and culture. Iyer grapples with the question we all have to live with: how to hold on to the things we love, even though we know that we—and they—are dying. The conversation will be facilitated by Amy Lewis Hofland, Executive Director of the Crow Museum of Asian Art of the University of Texas at Dallas.


Tim O'Brien

Monday, November 11, 7:30 p.m.

In conversation with author Ben Fountain

After becoming a father at the age of 58, National Book Award–winning novelist Tim O’Brien realized that when his two young sons would begin to know him, they would know an old man. He resolved to give them what he wished his own father had given him—a few scraps of paper signed “Love, Dad.” For the next 15 years, the author talked to his sons on paper, as if they were adults, imagining what they might want to hear from a father who was no longer among the living. The result is Dad’s Maybe Book, in which O’Brien shares wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime, and the challenges, humor, and rewards of raising two sons.


Samantha Power

Monday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Hockaday School, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Theater
In partnership with World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth 

In her new memoir The Education of an Idealist, Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power traces her distinctly American journey from Irish immigrant to human rights activist to US Ambassador to the United Nations. Heralded by President Barack Obama as one of America’s “foremost thinkers on foreign policy,” Power reminds us how the United States can lead, and why there is always something each of us can do to advance the cause of human dignity. This memoir is a humorous, stirring, and unforgettable account of the world-changing power of idealism and one person’s fierce determination to make a difference. 


Peggy Wallace Kennedy & Donna Wilhelm

Thursday December 5, 7:30 p.m.

In conversation with Krys Boyd of KERA

Peggy Wallace Kennedy, seen as the “symbol of racial reconciliation” (Washington Post), is the daughter of one of America’s most virulent segregationists, former governor of Alabama and presidential candidate George Wallace, who ultimately renounced his views at the end of his life. Wallace Kennedy’s powerful memoir The Broken Road is both timely and timeless and speaks to change, atonement, activism, and racial healing. A Life of My Own follows Donna Wilhelm’s path from a lonely child in an immigrant boarding house to corporate wife and mother, to middle-aged divorcee, and finally to her reinvention as a philanthropist, arts advocate, and humanitarian. This evocative memoir reveals her unique upbringing, diverse work history, family challenges, and journey of personal growth with unbridled honesty and will inspire others to take ownership of their stories.


Erin Morgenstern

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

Erin Morgenstern is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Night Circus, which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and is currently in development with Lionsgate as both a feature film and a stage play. In Morgenstern’s new novel The Starless Sea, a graduate student travels into a secret underground world—a place of pirates, painters, lovers, and liars—when he discovers a mysterious book buried deep in the library stacks that contains a story from his own childhood hidden in its pages.