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: 9/19/19

General Jim Mattis

Friday, September 20, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Dallas Baptist University, Pilgrim Chapel 

In partnership with World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and Dallas Baptist University 

In conversation with Jim Falk of World Affairs Council

Call Sign Chaos is an inspiring account of Jim Mattis's storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas now facing our nation. Call Sign Chaos illustrates how Mattis developed a unique leadership philosophy—one relevant to us all. 


Ben Folds

Saturday, September 21, 7:30 p.m.

In conversation with Ryan Taylor of Minnesota Opera

A celebrated singer-songwriter and the former frontman of the band Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds presents his first book and memoir, A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons, which reflects on his artistic coming of ageHe opens up about finding his voice as a musician, becoming a rock antihero, and hauling a baby grand piano on and off stage for every performance. In his inimitable voice, Folds digs deep into the life experiences that shaped him, imparting hard-earned wisdom about both art and life. 


Margaret Atwood

Monday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.

In conversation with Krys Boyd of KERA

VIP tickets are sold out. 

Margaret Atwood’s novel The Testaments, the brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, answers questions that have tantalized readers for decades. When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison, or death. The Testaments picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.


Casey Gerald: Community Book Club

Saturday, September 28, 10:30 a.m.

Location: Big Thought, 1409 S. Lamar Street, Suite 1015, Dallas, Texas 75215

FREE EVENT: Big Thought in partnership with Arts & Letters Live

Join an insightful community discussion of Casey Gerald’s book There Will Be No Miracles Here led by Byron Sanders, President and CEO of Big Thought, a nonprofit that seeks to close the opportunity gap by providing accessible educational programs for children of all ages. Gerald’s compelling memoir There Will Be No Miracles Here reflects on his experiences in Dallas and Washington, at Yale, and beyond, and takes the arc of a classic rags-to-riches tale and stands the American Dream narrative on its head


Kristin Hannah

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

In conversation with author Kathleen Kent

In her new novel The Great Alone, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah presents an unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience. In the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska, a desperate family seeks a new beginning, only to find that their harsh environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature. Called “magical” and “authentic” by Kirkus Reviews, The Great Alone explores love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. Hannah has authored more than 20 novels, including The Nightingale, which has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures. 


Casey Gerald

Tuesday, October 1, 7:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, SMU

In his memoir There Will Be No Miracles Here, Casey Gerald takes the arc of a classic rags-to-riches tale and stands the American Dream narrative on its head. A uniquely visionary witness whose life has spanned seemingly unbridgeable divides, Gerald reflects on his experiences in Dallas, Yale, Washington, and beyond. He illustrates how the world crushes those who live at its margins, how the elite perpetuate the salvation stories that keep others from rising, and most painfully, how his own ascension is part of the scheme. There Will Be No Miracles Here was named a “Best Book of 2018” by NPR and the New York Times, and was a PBS Newshour-New York Times Book Club Pick.  


Ann Patchett

Sunday, October 6, 7:00 p.m.

Anne Patchett’s much anticipated novel The Dutch House is a poignant and compelling exploration of the indelible bond between two siblings who grapple with questions of inheritance, love, and forgiveness. Set over the course of five decades, Danny and Maeve Conroy struggle to overcome the loss of their mother, who abandons the family to help the poor, and the subsequent remarriage of their real-estate mogul father to a materialistic younger woman. Patchett has won numerous prizes, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2012


A Moveable Feast Book Club: Margaret Atwood's The Testaments

Friday, October 11, 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 Margaret Atwood’s new novel The Testaments, the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. 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.


Kate DiCamillo

Saturday, October 12, 2:30 p.m.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kate DiCamillo returns to the world of Raymie Nightengale in her new book Beverly, Right Here. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her Three Rancheros series, Beverly, Right Here tells the story of a tough-talking runaway, tenderhearted Beverly Tapinski, a character who will break your heart and put it back together again. Her books’ themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances and their messages of shared humanity and connectedness have resonated with readers of all ages around the world, with almost 30 million books in print worldwide. DiCamillo is a National Book Award finalist and two-time Newbery Medalist, and was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.


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.