Featured Speakers

ERT/Booklist Author Forum

Friday, January 8, 2016 -
4:00pm to 5:15pm
Ken Burns, ERT/Booklist Author ForumKurlanskyTerry Tempest Williams

Documentarian Ken Burns and creative nonfiction writers Mark Kurlansky and Terry Tempest Williams join Donna Seaman. They will discuss “The Writer as Witness,” talking about the challenges and pleasures of telling true stories, and offering the first of many opportunities to hear and see favorite authors, illustrators, and publishers up close at Midwinter.

Ken Burns has been making films for more than 35 years, including The Civil War, Baseball, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  Projects currently in production include films on Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War, the history of country music, Ernest Hemingway, and the history of stand-up comedy.  The scores of awards, honors, and special recognitions he has received include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, three Peabody Awards, Producer of the Year award from the Producers Guild of America, a People’s Choice Award, a D. W. Griffith Award, the Lincoln Prize, and the National Jefferson Award, S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen.  His films have received two Academy Award nominations, thirteen Emmy Awards, and two Grammy Awards.  Burns is delighted to introduce children to America’s presidents as leaders and as people in Grover Cleveland Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents, which will be published in July 2016.

Mark Kurlansky is a bestselling and prolific creative nonfiction writer celebrated for books focusing on everything from salt, cod, and frozen food to the pop song, “Dancing in the Street.” The author of 28 books, he has received multiple awards and honors ranging from a Los Angeles Times Science Writing Award and a James Beard Award for Food Writing to a New York Public Library Best Books of the Year Award, an Orbis Pictus award from the National Council of Teachers of English, and ALA Notable Book Awards. After starting out as a playwright, Kurlansky shifted to journalism and is a former foreign correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.  His many other jobs include commercial fisherman, dock worker, paralegal, cook, and pastry chef. He has guest lectured all over the world on history, writing, environmental issues, and other subjects. His forthcoming book is Paper: Paging Through History (May 2016).

Terry Tempest Williams is an award-winning author of 14 books, a conservationist, and an activist whose writing is rooted in the American West and ranges from issues of ecology and wilderness preservation, to women's health, to exploring our relationship to culture and nature. Her books include Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and When Women Were Birds. Her forthcoming book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks (June 2016) offers a literary celebration of our national parks, what they mean to us, and what we mean to them, and is timed to honor the centennial of the National Park Service.

Donna Seaman is Booklist’s Editor for Adult Books. An award-winning writer and critic herself, she has moderated many author appearances and her reviews and essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and other publications. Seaman’s author interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books.

The Exhibits Round Table is pleased to sponsor the ERT/Booklist Author Forum as one of the many ways they collaborate with ALA staff and members to make the exhibits a dynamic part of ALA conferences. Booklist can be found at booth #1923 in the exhibits, where you can discuss all things book and media related with the editors and get a demo of the integrated print, online, and digital edition access.

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Auditorium Speaker Series

Saturday, January 9, 2016 -
10:00am to 11:00am
Isaac Mizrahi

You won’t want to miss the chance to hear Isaac Mizrahi—designer, fashion industry leader, documentary film co-creator and actor, ballet costume designer, opera director, TV talk show host, QVC star, weekly judge on “Project Runway: All-Stars,” pop-culture and media phenomenon, business expert, and soon-to-be published literary memoirist.

Mizrahi will bring his trademark humor to Midwinter Meeting as he does to his writing. His forthcoming (2016) memoir “I.M.,” while offering an oral history of the fashion world for the last 30 years, is at heart about a boy searching for—and finally finding—happiness. It covers his growing up gay and overweight in a Jewish orthodox community in Brooklyn, his relationship with his conservative parents, his forays into NYC, including his days at the High School of Performing Arts and Parsons School of Design, the waning days of Studio 54, and his rise in the fashion and business worlds. When “Unzipped,” Mizrahi’s 1995 award-winning co-created documentary film about his Fall 1994 ready-to-wear collection was released, the New York Times’ Janet Maslin called it a "crafty valentine to the fashion world in general and this irrepressible designer in particular.”  Mizrahi has received multiple awards and has dressed some of the most distinguished and famous women in the world (from Audrey Hepburn to Michelle Obama. A major retrospective of his work titled “An Unruly History” is scheduled to take place at the Jewish Museum of NYC in 2016.

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Auditorium Speaker Series

Saturday, January 9, 2016 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm
Andre DubusNancy Pearl

Join a lively conversation between bestselling author Andre Dubus III and Nancy Pearl! Dubus is the author of six books, including the New York Times’ bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie. His most recent book, Dirty Love, published in the fall of 2013, was a New York Times “Notable Book” selection, a New York Times “Editors’ Choice”, a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013”. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a 2012 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in more than 25 languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Nancy Pearl, a former librarian and author of several Book Lust and Book Crush titles, speaks frequently about the pleasures of reading to libraries, literacy organizations, and community groups throughout the world. She also comments regularly on books on NPR's Morning Edition, and hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She has recently worked on reprints of a dozen of her favorite novels for adults published between 1960 and 2000, called Book Lust Rediscoveries, and Book Crush Rediscoveries, a dozen reprints of long out-of-print books for kids and teens. She has received numerous honors and awards, including a Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, the 2010 Margaret E. Monroe Award from ALA’s Reference and User Services Association, the 2004 Women's National Book Association Award, and a Humanities Washington Award, and the Public Library Association’s Allie Beth Martin Award. 

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Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture

Saturday, January 9, 2016 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Lizzie Velasquez

Anti-bullying activist Lizzie Velasquez will bring to Midwinter her message of not allowing others to define you, and of turning negativity into a motivating force.  

Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and later as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her “the world’s ugliest woman.” Instead of giving in to the cruelty and vitriol, Velasquez decided to respond to the bullies and tormentors by speaking out against both cyber- and face-to-face bullying, becoming a motivational speaker and author as well as the subject of the award-winning 2015 documentary “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.”  She also got involved in lobbying Congress to pass an anti-bullying bill, and presented a TEDx talk—“How do you define yourself?”—which has been viewed 9.6 million times. She credits her parents with teaching her not to allow herself to be defined by what was different about her. “You are the one that decides what defines you,” she says in the talk. She decided to let her goals, success, and accomplishments define her, not her outward appearance, and has used the many negative things directed at her “as a ladder to help me climb up to my goals.” Her highly anticipated inspirational memoir will be released in the Spring of 2017 by Hachette Books.

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Auditorium Speaker Series

Sunday, January 10, 2016 -
10:00am to 11:00am
Jo Ann Jenkins

Dynamic change agent, nationally recognized leader, and former chief operating officer at the Library of Congress Jo Ann Jenkins will share her message of innovation. With more than 25 years of extensive leadership, management, planning and business experience and a strong sense of social mission, she has repeatedly transformed organizations and led innovative policies at top levels of the nonprofit, philanthropic and public sectors.

Currently CEO of AARP, the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, Jenkins is an award-winning leader and insightful manager known for her ability to set priorities and get things done. At AARP, her signature rallying cry to Disrupt Aging! is designed to revolutionize society’s views on aging by driving a new social consciousness and sparking innovative solutions for all generations. “Disrupt Aging” is also the title of her forthcoming book, in which she sets out to change the current conversation about what it means to get older, touching on important issues facing people 50+ today, and tackling new myths about aging, including that aging is a problem to be solved rather than a part of the human experience.

Previously, as president of AARP’s affiliated charity AARP Foundation, Jenkins led far-reaching development and social impact initiatives, including Drive to End Hunger, a national effort to help the millions of older Americans who struggle with hunger every day. She went to AARP Foundation from the Library of Congress where, during her 15-year tenure as chief operating officer, she developed and directed high-profile projects including the National Book Festival and the Library of Congress Experience, in addition to overseeing a $1 billion budget and 4,000 staff.  


Her many awards and special recognition include the 2010 Women in Technology Leadership Award for her innovative work on the Library of Congress Experience, and the Library of Congress Distinguished Service Award. She is also a Malcolm Baldrige fellow, recipient of the 2013 Black Women’s Agenda Economic Development Award for spearheading investments undergirding innovative social impact programs, and one of the NonProfit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 for 2013 and 2014 and Washington Life Magazine’s Power 100 for 2015. She received SmartCEO’s 2015 BRAVA award honoring top female chief executives.  

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ALA President's Program

Sunday, January 10, 2016 -
3:30pm to 5:30pm
Cory Booker, President's Program

Prepare to be inspired when rising United States Senator Cory Booker—known for being innovative, and widely recognized as the accessible and energetic new voice of politics—joins President Sari Feldman as speaker on the President’s Program, in partnership with the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Senator Booker is deeply connected to the people he serves and to their daily challenges, and makes the case through his work and in his forthcoming book United that connection and compassion must guide our nation toward a brighter future. He chose to live in the projects of blighted Newark, NJ and on food stamps in order to better understand the experience of poor families, and took Hurricane Sandy victims into his own home. As mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, he was the public face of a city that had gone years without positive national attention, and then became the first black Senator from New Jersey in 2013. As Senator, he has been persistent and put partisanship aside, bringing people together to get things done for his state, including a focus on creating new jobs and addressing the economic squeeze facing the middle-class. Join us to hear his insights on economic growth, civic engagement, individual opportunity, and community progress.

Senator Booker, whose regular following includes 1.5 million on Twitter and 50,000 on Instagram, writes with passion on issues including equity, inclusion, and economic justice. You can read more about him on his official website.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration

Monday, January 11, 2016 -
6:30am to 7:30am
Mary Frances Berry

Since her days as a student at Howard University, Mary Frances Berry has been one of the most prominent activists in the cause of civil rights, gender equality and social justice in the United States. Her publications include such subjects as the history of constitutional racism in America and child care and women’s rights. "Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House" (Beacon Press, 2010) offers insight and historical context of President Obama’s most memorable speeches. Her most recent book, "We Are We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home across the Atlantic World" (Oxford University Press, 2014) offers a new angle of vision for looking at racial identity, demography and migration as themes of our national history. Her forthcoming book "Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy" (Beacon Press, February 2016) explains that some campaign voter turnout activities are just another form of voter suppression.

Berry is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2014 she was named a distinguished fellow of the American Society for Legal History the highest honor the Society can award. Since 1988, she has been the Geraldine R. Segal professor of American social thought, history, law and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her participation is generously made possible by Beacon Press.

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Closing Speaker

Monday, January 11, 2016 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
Chelsea Clinton

“We have a saying in my family — it's always better to get caught trying (rather than not try at all). I hope we can all get caught trying,” says Chelsea Clinton in a letter to readers on the website for her new book, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! Clinton will close out the conference speaking with executive editor Jill Santopolo about writing a book that addresses the biggest challenges facing us today, offers ideas for immediate action, and inspires readers of all ages to do their part to make the world a better place. Combining facts, charts, photographs and stories to give readers a deep understanding of the world around them, the book covers issues such as poverty across the globe and in the U.S., access to education, gender equality, epidemics, non-communicable diseases, climate change, and endangered species. The examples of how some children and teens have made real changes, big and small, in their families, their communities, in our country and across the world show how anyone can make a difference. There’s more about the project, including resources useful to libraries, at www.penguin.com/itsyourworld.

Chelsea Clinton has always been interested in making the world a better place. When she was a child in Little Rock, Arkansas, one of her favorite books was 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, and as a teenager in Washington, D.C., she led her school's service club. While at Stanford, she worked as a reading and writing tutor and volunteered at the Children's Hospital. Today, she is Vice Chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation where she helps lead the work of the Foundation across its various initiatives, with a particular focus on work related to health, women and girls, creating service opportunities, and empowering the next generation of leaders.

Jill Santopolo is an executive editor of many award-winning and best-selling books at Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.

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