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: 3/7/21

Virtual Event: Kazuo Ishiguro

Sunday, March 7, 5:00 p.m. CST
In conversation with Jim Shepard
In partnership with Inprint
Recording available through March 21
Hailed by the New York Times as “an original and remarkable genius” and by the Independent as “a master storyteller,” Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Booker Prize. His novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both made into acclaimed films, have each sold more than two million copies. At this event, he will discuss his new novel Klara and the Sun, about an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational skills, who closely watches the behavior of the humans she can see from her place in a department store, hoping one day to be chosen by one. Ultimately, this novel explores one of life’s fundamental questions: what does it mean to love?

Virtual Event: Selected Shorts presents Toni Morrison Remembered

Saturday, February 27, 7:00 p.m. CST

Rescheduled for February 27 due to inclement weather

In partnership with KERA
Recording available through March 13
Selected Shorts returns to Arts & Letters Live with a tribute to Toni Morrison, whose fierce, poetic visions articulate deep truths about the nature of racial injustice in America. Hosted by award-winning author Yaa Gyasi (Homegoing, Transcendent Kingdom), the event will include Emmy Award winner Joe Morton (Rowan/Eli Pope in Scandal), Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere), two-time Obie Award winner Charlayne Woodard (Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Hair), and Brandon J. Dirden (Tony Award–winning production of All the Way), who will come together to honor the extraordinary life and legacy of this Nobel Prize winner with performances from her novels, essays, and short stories.  



Virtual Event: Anne Lamott

Wednesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m. CST
Recording available through March 17 
From bestselling author Anne Lamott comes Dusk, Night, Dawn, an inspiring guide to restoring hope and joy while grappling with the thorny issues of life. How can we cope as bad news piles up and we stumble through dark times that seem increasingly bleak? We begin, she says, by accepting our flaws and embracing our humanity. Drawing from her own experiences, Lamott shows us the intimate and human ways we can adopt to move through life’s dark places and toward the light of hope that still burns ahead for all of us. Full of the honesty, humor, and humanity that have made Lamott beloved by millions of readers, Dusk, Night, Dawn is thoughtful and comic, warm and wise.  

Virtual Event: Lily King and Chang-rae Lee

Monday, March 22, 7:00 p.m. CST

Rescheduled for March 22 due to inclement weather

In conversation with Lois Kim, Executive Director of Texas Book Festival
Recording available through April 5
Lily King’s Writers & Lovers follows Casey—a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist—in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Casey’s fight to fulfill her creative ambitions is challenged in ways that push her to the brink. Chang-rae Lee’s My Year Abroad tells an exuberant and entertaining story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure—and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection.    

“Who is a greater novelist than Chang-rae Lee today?” —The Los Angeles Times 

“Writers & Lovers is exactly the book we need now. Witty and heartfelt. . . . I could not stop reading.” —Judy Blume 


Free Virtual Event: Hala Alyan and Patricia Lockwood

Sunday, March 28, 2:00 p.m. CST

In conversation with Mira Jacob

In partnership with the Dallas Literary Festival presented by SMU

Join us for a free event which is a part of the Dallas Literary Festival presented by SMU, featuring two singular, critically acclaimed authors, Hala Alyan and Patricia Lockwood, talking about their latest works.   

Alyan’s novel The Arsonists’ City follows a family teeming with internal tensions over bitter jealousies, shame, and abandoned passions set against the backdrop of Beirut, a city smoldering with the legacy of political and religious conflict. Lockwood’s urgent, genre-defying novel No One Is Talking About This follows a woman lurching from social media stardom into a mysterious, at times absurdist, void full of existential threats she terms “the portal.” Both works offer fresh insights into the power and fragility of human connection in our present moment, befitting the Dallas Literary Festival’s 2021 theme: “Turbulence.” 


Virtual Event: Abi Daré and Andrea Lee

Monday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. CST
Pre-recorded virtual event
Recording available through April 19   
Promotional Partner: World Affairs Council
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: Gabriela Garcia and Kaitlyn Greenidge

Monday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. CST

Recording available until 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 Salttraces 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. 



Rescheduled: David Sedaris

Monday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.
Location: McFarlin Auditorium, Southern Methodist University
All purchased tickets have been transferred to the rescheduled 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.


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.