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: 9/27/20

Virtual Event: Ken Follett

Thursday, October 1, 7:00 p.m.

A recording of the event will be available through October 15.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett comes the prequel to his epic The Pillars of the EarthThe Evening and the Morning is a thrilling and addictive new novel set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages. In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined: a young boatbuilder whose home is raided by the Vikings, a Norman noblewoman who marries for love and follows her husband across the sea to a new land, and a monk who dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center for learning. Each comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will anything to increase his wealth and power.


Virtual Event: Claudia Rankine

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

In partnership with Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation

A recording of the event will be available through October 20.

Addressing the topic of whiteness and white supremacy through an array of essays, poems, and visuals in her new book Just Us: An American Conversation, award-winning poet and MacArthur Genius Claudia Rankine explores a series of real encounters with friends and strangers, each disrupting the false comfort of spaces where our public and private lives intersect, and urges us to forge humane pathways through this moment of division.   

“Claudia Rankine . . . is one of our essential thinkers about race, difference, politics, and the United States of America. . . . Just Us asks difficult questions and begins necessary conversations.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, author 


Virtual Event: Barbara Kingsolver

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 p.m.

A recording of the event will be available through October 7. 

Award-winning author Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible) will discuss and read from her new book of poetry, How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons), which has been in progress for a decade. This intimate new collection offers reflections on the complicated bonds of family and friendship, everyday acts of living, the natural world, and the redemptive nature of art and poetry, as well as death and transcendence.


Virtual Event: Fredrik Backman

Wednesday, September 16, 4:00 p.m.

In conversation with Angela Haupt

A recording of the event will be available through October 16.

Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s whimsical, oddball humor and heart-rending turns resist the typical genre mold, yet with 12 million copies sold globally, his numerous works resonate widely. 

Anxious People involves a failed bank robber who takes hostage a disparate group of people at an open house. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths. The novel grapples with both mental health and parenting, as well as the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious times. 


Virtual Event: Laila Lalami

Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.

In conversation with Jim Falk, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

A recording of the event will be available through November 4. 

Novelist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami utilizes her compelling narrative style to describe her own path to US citizenship alongside the larger history of American law and society in her new nonfiction work Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America. Drawing on her personal identity as “an immigrant, a woman, an Arab, and a Muslim,” Lalami describes how becoming a US citizen does not necessarily mean becoming “an equal member of the American family.”

Join us for a wide-ranging conversation about Lalami’s fiction and nonfiction works with the author who the Washington Post calls “one of our most important critics of the American character.”


RESCHEDULED: David Sedaris

Monday, May 17, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
Location: McFarlin Auditorium, Southern Methodist University
Promotional Partner: KERA
All purchased tickets have been transferred to the rescheduled date.

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 Day,  Let’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.