BBF 2020: Announcing Our Headliners

Top row: Natasha Trethewey, Nicholas Kristof, Michael J. Sandel, Juana Medina, Ayad Akhtar; Bottom row: Michael Murphy, Sheryl WuDunn, Jerry Craft, Guy Raz, Grace Talusan

This year, we’re rolling out our lineup gradually through the rest of the summer, along with blog posts, features, and more information about the dozens of creative authors and artists who will be joining us online this October. This week, we’re spotlighting the luminaries who will be joining us for solo/headlining sessions at the BBF:

Ayad Akhtar is a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and author of the novel American Dervish. His latest novel, Homeland Elegies, is a work of autofiction, called “a provocative and urgent examination of the political and economic conditions that shape personal identity, especially for immigrants and communities of color” by Publishers Weekly. At the BBF online, Akhtar will be interviewed by Suzanne Nossel, head of PEN America and author of the new book Dare to Speak.

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are a husband-and-wife writing team who have collaborated on a number of books, most recently Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope. The two of them also received a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. WuDunn is a graduate of Harvard Business School and has worked in both journalism and finance; she is currently a senior managing director at MId-Market Securities. Kristof is a regular CNN contributor and has written an opinion column for the New York Times since 2001.

Michael Murphy is the Founding Principle and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, a nonprofit architecture and design collective that leverages buildings, as well as the design and construction process, to become catalysts for economic growth, social change, and justice. The group’s work, which includes the widely acclaimed National Memorial for Peace and Justice, has been collected in a new monograph, Justice Is Beauty.

Guy Raz is a radio host and correspondent who has co-created three NPR programs: TED Radio Hour, How I Built This, and Wow in the World. His new book, How I Built This, is based on the program and podcast of the same name. At the BBF, Raz will be interviewed by Linda Pizzuti Henry, the managing director of the Boston Globe and the founder of HUBweek.

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His wildly popular course “Justice” was the first Harvard course to be made freely available online. Sandel is the author of a number of books, most recently The Tyranny of Merit: What Becomes of the Common Good?

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States and received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard. Her latest work is a memoir, Memorial Drive, called by the Washington Post “an examination of the Old South colliding with the new, a chronicle of one artist’s beginnings, and of a changing America.” For the Boston Book Festival, Trethewey will be interviewed by Callie Crossley on Crossley’s radio show Under the Radar on 89.7 WGBH, as part of the ongoing series “Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club.”

As we announced last week, we’re thrilled to welcome two celebrated author-illustrators for children to our lineup (and to the virtual classrooms of our Shelf Help partner schools!): Jerry Craft, author of New Kid (which was awarded both the Newbery and Coretta Scot King medals) and of the forthcoming Class Act; and Juana Medina, the Pura Belpre Award–winning author-illustrator of Juana & Lucas and the creator of many other acclaimed works for young people.

And finally, as previously announced, Grace Talusan will be featured at a  lively town hall discussion focused on her story “The Book of Life and Death,” this year’s One City One Story selection.

Stay tuned, and check back often on our presenters page  for more announcements and updates!

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