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Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011-12 Speakers' Series

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 4:49 PM

The former Drue Heinz Lectures and Robert Morris University’s Pittsburgh Speakers Series‭ ‬recently announced their line-ups,‭ ‬and both boast big names.

Pittsburgh Arts‭ & ‬Lectures‭ ‬(www.pittsburghlectures.org‭) ‬has renamed its series Literary Evenings,‭ ‬Monday Night Lectures.‭ ‬It opens Sept.‭ ‬19‭ ‬with venerable investigative reporter Seymour M.‭ ‬Hersh,‭ ‬whose latest book,‭ ‬Chain of Command,‭ ‬explores the early years of the‭ “‬War on Terror.‭”

The series,‭ ‬at held at Oakland’s Carnegie Music Hall,‭ ‬continues with actor and newly minted memoirist John Lithgow‭ (‬Drama‭) ‬and‭ ‬critically‭ ‬esteemed best-selling novelist Jonathan Franzen,‭ ‬and hardly lets up from there.

Also included are Mark Bittman,‭ ‬author of‭ ‬The Food Matters Cookbook‭; ‬novelist Anne Patchett‭; ‬and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.‭ ‬On Jan.‭ ‬30,‭ ‬2012,‭ ‬the series tries something new with an onstage conversation about the Great Migration‭ (‬of African Americans to the North‭) ‬between historian Isabel Wilkerson and NPR’s Michele Norris,‭ ‬both of whom have‭ ‬written‭ ‬books on the subject.

The series concludes with‭ ‬The Perfect Storm author Sebastien Junger‭ (‬his new one is‭ ‬War‭); ‬and two novelists,‭ ‬Abraham Verghese‭ (‬Cutting for Stone‭) ‬and Lisa See‭ (‬Dreams of Joy‭)‬.

The Pittsburgh Speakers Series,‭ ‬meanwhile,‭ ‬kicks off Oct.‭ ‬12‭ ‬with best-selling historian Ron Chernow,‭ ‬best known for his bios of Washington and‭ ‬Hamilton.

Other big names include‭ ‬spouse team‭ ‬Joe Wilson‭ ‬(the diplomat‭) ‬and Valerie Plame‭ ‬(the CIA operative‭); ‬Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan‭; ‬Tom Brokaw‭; ‬and‭ ‬controversial retired Gen.‭ ‬Stanley McChrystal,‭ ‬whom‭ ‬President‭ ‬Obama asked to resign as chief of U.S.‭ ‬forces in Afghanistan after a‭ ‬2010‭ ‬Rolling Stone article quoted him and his aides taking the piss out of the White House.

Also speaking are former Washington,‭ ‬D.C.,‭ ‬public-schools chancellor Michelle Rhee,‭ ‬a controversial advocate of school reform,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi.

The Speakers Series‭ ‬(www.pittsburghspeakersseries.org‭) ‬is held at Heinz Hall,‭ ‬Downtown,‭ ‬but requires a commitment:‭ ‬Unlike Literary Evenings,‭ ‬you can’t buy single tickets but must subscribe to all seven talks,‭ ‬at packages starting at‭ ‬$285.

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