Fall 2009 – Spring 2010

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

An Evening With Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared regularly on magazine covers ever since, and her large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.
Leibovitz’s first major assignment was for a cover story on John Lennon. She became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973, where she shot 142 covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including her memorable accounts of the resignation of Richard Nixon and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. In 1983, she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair and was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work—portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs—that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life.
Several collections of Leibovitz’s work have been published, and exhibitions of her work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world. Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors and recognitions. In 2009, she received the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achievement Award, ASME’s first Creative Excellence Award, and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Selected Poems and Preoccupations

Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, has been called the most important Irish poet since William Butler Yeats.
His writing career began at Queen’s University in Belfast, where he published work in the university magazines under the pseudonym Incertus. He published Eleven Poems in 1965 in connection with the Belfast Festival. His award-winning works include the Death of a Naturalist (1966), Door into the Dark (1969), Wintering Out (1972) and North (1975), Field Work (1979), Selected Poems and Preoccupations: Selected Prose (1981), Station Island (1984), The Haw Lantern (1987), Seeing Things (1991); The Redress of Poetry (1995, a collection of lectures he delivered at Oxford); and The Spirit Level (1996).
Heaney co-founded Field Day Publishing in 1983. He taught and served as a department head at Carysfort College in Dublin, and was, at various stages in his career, a visiting professor, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Writer-In-Residence at Harvard University. He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1989-94.
Heaney’s most recent publications include a translation of Beowulf (2000), Diary of One Who Vanished (2000), Opened Ground (1998) and Electric Light (2001) and Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001, a collection of essays. His newest collection of poetry, District and Circle, was published in 2006. This year, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Dennis O’Driscoll.

Marian Wright Edelman


A Voice for Children

Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Leave No Child Behind® mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Edelman began her career in the mid-‘60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. She served as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C., founded the Washington Research Project, and served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University for two years. Her work has earned her numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A prolific author, her latest book, The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, was released last fall.

Scott Simon

Covering the World

From Ground Zero in New York to ground zero in Kabul, to police stations, refugee camps, snipers’ roosts, subway platforms and theater stages, NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon has reported from all 50 states and every continent. He has covered 10 wars, hundreds of campaigns, sieges, famines, hurricanes, earthquakes, civil wars, scandals, state funerals and opening nights. He has interviewed and profiled some of the most interesting personalities of the times. Simon has hosted many public television specials and written for numerous prominent publications. He is the author of four best-selling books, including his most recent novel, a political comedy called Windy City, which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2008.

Alex Steffen

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide

Steffen is the founder of Worldchanging, a popular website on sustainability. Every day, Steffen and his team of journalists and practitioners deliver bright new ideas that The New York Times lauds as “solutions-focused reporting on innovation.” The ideas range from the small and clever to the huge and inspiring—and all are proof that the tools and models to build a better future are already here. Steffen brings them all together on the site, in his talks and in his edited book Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century (Abrams, 2006), a 600-page compendium of writings from more than 60 noted leaders around the world. Steffen’s next release, Bright Green, a book aimed at helping businesspeople understand where the big opportunities for change are, will be released in 2009. Steffen has been the subject of a CNN documentary, serves on the boards of numerous NGOs and is a much-sought-after speaker on the power of new thinking and innovative solutions for sustainable cities.

Muhammad Yunus

Creating a World Without Poverty

Muhammad Yunus has worked for nearly four decades to eradicate poverty through micro-lending. His personal loans of small amounts of money to destitute basket weavers in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s planted the seeds for the Grameen Bank Project, which was then established in 1983. The objective of the Grameen Bank is to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans without collateral to support income-generating activities. The Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending. The bank now has eight million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women, and has lent more than $8.26 billion with a nearly 100 percent repayment rate. Yunus is the recipient of the World Food Prize (1994) and the Sydney Peace Prize (1998) and in 2006, he received the Seoul Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize. This August, Yunus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Yunus was professor of economics and director of the Rural Economics Program at Chittagong University in Bangladesh from 1975-89. He is the author of “Banker to the Poor” (PublicAffairs, 2003) and “Creating a World Without Poverty” (PublicAffairs, 2008).

Ira Glass

This American Life

Ira Glass’s This American Life premiered on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ in late 1995 and is now heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week by more than 1.7 million listeners. Glass began his career as an intern at National Public Radio’s network headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1978, at age 19. Over the years, he worked on nearly every NPR network news program and held virtually every production job. Under Glass’s editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including the Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards, as well as the Edward R. Murrow and the Overseas Press Club awards. In 2001, Time magazine named Glass “Best Radio Host in America.” The show has inspired a comic book, three greatest-hits compilations, a paint-by-numbers set, a “radio decoder” toy, and a DVD, which was created with cartoonist Chris Ware. In March 2007, the television adaptation of This American Life premiered on Showtime to great critical acclaim and in 2008 won two Emmy awards.

John S. Hendricks

Modern Media and Demanding Consumers

John S. Hendricks created Discovery Channel, the core property of Discovery Communications, in 1982 as the first cable network in the United States designed to provide high quality documentary programming, enabling people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity. A visionary in the media industry, Hendricks has been the driving force behind Discovery’s dramatic growth, including the expansion of Discovery Communications to current global operations in more than 170 countries and territories with more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers. Under Hendricks’ leadership, Discovery’s stable of networks now encompass more than 100 networks of distinctive programming representing 29 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel and HD Theater. Discovery’s other properties include Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce. Hendricks has been honored with a Primetime Emmy Award and with the Governor’s Award, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ highest honor, for conceiving the TLC series, Great Books. The Ark Trust named him a recipient of the Genesis Award for lifetime achievement for his efforts in raising awareness around the globe about animal issues. Hendricks has also been recognized as the first corporate leader to receive the National Education Association’s Friend of Education award for “innovations in education and technology and greatly expanding educational opportunity for America’s schoolchildren.”

Khaled Hosseini and Firoozeh Dumas

An Evening with Khaled Hosseini

Hosseini was born in Afghanistan and grew up in Kabul, where his father worked for the Afghan foreign ministry and his mother was a teacher. The family moved to Paris in 1976, when Hosseini’s father was assigned a diplomatic post in the Afghan embassy. Hosseini’s father obtained political asylum in the United States, and the family moved to the U.S. in the fall of 1980. Hosseini earned a medical degree in 1993 and entered medical practice as an internist in 1996. His bestselling novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were published by Riverhead Books in 2003 and 2007, respectively. In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy for the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help raise awareness about refugees around the world. Hosseini now divides his time between writing, working with the UN and his family. He recently founded the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Hosseini will donate his speaking fee to the foundation.

Firoozeh Dumas was born in Iran and moved to Southern California with her family in the 1970s. She later graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and married a Frenchman. She grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many stories of his life in Iran and America. Her memoir, Funny in Farsi, published by Random House in 2004, was on the San Francisco and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, a finalist for the PEN/USA Award and a finalist for the Audie Award for best audio book. For the past five years, she has traveled the country, using humor to remind audiences that our commonalities far outweigh our differences. Her latest memoir, Laughing without an Accent (Random House), was published in 2008.