The New Yorker Festival 2012

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Exclusive to Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, David Remnick, and other writers, actors, and thinkers come together for three days of intelligent entertainment. Don't miss The New Yorker Festival 2012!

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Inspiration for Dunham's 'Girls': Real-Life Bad Dates

Lena Dunham explains how she incorporates real people and situations from her life into her hit HBO show "Girls" and the surprising reactions she receives from people in her past.

Women's Right to Abortion vs. Access to All Healthcare

Republican strategist and pollster Kellyanne Conway and president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards debate Mitt Romney's true intentions in regard to female reproductive rights and whether women are more concerned about the right to an abortion or overall healthcare.

Gladwell: An 'Unreal' Image Changed Civil Rights Forever

Malcolm Gladwell dissects one of the most iconic photographs from the Civil Rights Movement, concluding that, while not diminishing its power, it was actually staged by Martin Luther King Jr.

Gawande: Pick the Best Care, Hospital 1 or Hospital 2?

Would you rather be cared for in a hospital that produces fewer  complications, or a hospital that has a better rescue rate? Atul Gawande, surgeon and New Yorker staff writer, explains which hospital is more likely to provide better care.

Free Speech: Rushdie Responds to Riots in Muslim World

Salman Rushdie, author of Joseph Anton, discusses the right to free speech around the world. Rushdie declares that the cultural expression of the West cannot be dictated by religious violence.

Cobain Factor: Why David Foster Wallace Killed Himself

Author Mark Costello, roommate of David Foster Wallace at Amherst College, and New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman attempt to understand the motivations of Wallace's suicide in 2008. Costello, probably the person who best understood Wallace, believes that Wallace lost his will to live after his ability to write dried up.

Margaret Atwood: Creating a Future of Headless Chickens

Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, describes the challenges of creating a future that is full of such unusual products as a headless chicken.

On Assignment: Lauren Collins Pukes on Donatella Versace

Lauren Collins, staff writer at The New Yorker, discusses one of her most challenging interview experiences--the time she vomited on Donatella Versace.

Bechdel: The Queer Beginning of 'Dykes to Watch Out For'

Alison Bechdel, author and comic artist, recalls that her infamous comic strip 'Dykes to Watch Out For' originated not only from feminism but deep-seated family secrets and tragedy.

Foer & Shteyngart: The Final and Last Death of the Novel

A panel consisting of Jonathan Safran Foer, Tea Obreht, and Gary Shteyngart contemplates the death of the novel. Foer believes the novel can't compete with technology, while Shteyngart sees fiction as the new poetry. Adam Gopnik moderates.

Gladwell: Martin Luther King's Nazi Hug, Birmingham 1963

Malcolm Gladwell recounts Civil Rights protests organized by Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama. While King was attacked by a Nazi in 1963, he counters with a hug and forgiveness.

Jose Vargas to Lou Dobbs: Think Before Saying 'Illegals'

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas reflects on his experience living as an undocumented immigrant for 15 years and how it feels when people like Lou Dobbs use the term "illegal." It can be damaging and demeaning.

Lessig: 'Unlimited Campaign Contributions Are Corrupt'

Lawrence Lessig argues that America's current system of unlimited political campaign contributions is corrupt.  Campaign financing is concentrated among too few people, which makes politicians overly dependent on these donors and undermines the very nature of democracy.  

Richard Wagner: Horror, Beauty, a Mirror to Our Soul

The career of Wilhelm Richard Wagner is controversial for its influence on the Nazi Party. New Yorker music critic Alex Ross declares that, justly or unjustly, Wagner should be judged both through the prism of art and the historical context that frames it.

Why Obama Lost 2012 Debate: Doesn't Like Confrontation

David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story, analyzes President Obama's performance in his first debate with Mitt Romney and traces his failure back to behavioral patterns from his earlier life and, in particular, the fact he doesn't like confrontation.

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FROM THE NEW YORKER FESTIVAL 2011 -- Richard Dawkins: There Never Was a First Homo Sapiens

About this conference

The New Yorker Festival, now in its thirteenth year, brings together a distinguished group of writers, thinkers, artists, and other luminaries, and covers topics including film, music, politics, economics, architecture, fashion, and literature. From October 5th through October 7th, in New York.

About The New Yorker

The New Yorker is a weekly magazine with a signature mix of reporting on national and international politics and culture, humor and cartoons, fiction and poetry, and cultural reviews and criticism.

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