The Writer and Life by Alexander Chee

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“One of the things that I think I can say now with a great deal of confidence about writing is that usually, the things that you are most ashamed of are actually what you should be trying to describe,” says Alexander Chee in this 2018 lecture titled “The Writer and Life,” part of Brown University’s public lecture series devoted to various forms of nonfiction writing. For more Chee, read “Which Story Will You Tell? A Q&A with Alexander Chee” by Amy Gall.

Natasha Trethewey at the Library of Congress

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In this 2014 video for the Library of Congress, Natasha Trethewey delivers the final lecture of her second term as U.S. poet laureate speaking on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the major victories of the civil rights movement, as well as reflecting on how these events cross with her own personal history and laureateship.

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James Wood

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"Home swells as a sentiment because it has disappeared as an achievable reality." James Wood, literary critic for the New Yorker and a professor of practice at Harvard University, reads from The Nearest Thing to Life, a collection of essays from the Mandel Lectures in Humanities, a book series published by Brandeis University Press.

Dreamland

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"In 1929, three decades into what were the great years for the blue-collar town of Portsmouth, on the Ohio River, a private swimming pool opened and they called it Dreamland." Journalist Sam Quinones discusses his book Dreamland: The True Story of America's Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury, 2015), which was awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction.

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