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!


  • Punch Brothers Punch Brothers are a New York-based, Grammy-nominated quintet that was formed by the singer and mandolinist Chris Thile and which features the guitarist Chris Eldridge, the bassist Paul Kowert, the banjo player Noam Pikelny, and the fiddler Gabe Witcher. The band released its first album, "Punch," in 2008. "Antifogmatic," produced by Jon Brion, followed, in 2010, and "Who’s Feeling Young Now?" came out in February.
    Photo Credit: Danny Clinch
  • Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend was formed at Columbia University in 2006 by the singer and guitarist Ezra Koenig, the instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, the bassist Chris Baio, and the drummer Chris Tomson. In 2008, the band released its eponymous first album, which débuted in the Top 20 of the U.S. and U.K. album charts. It was followed by the Grammy-nominated "Contra," in 2010. A third album is forthcoming.
    Photo Credit: Napoleon Habeica
  • Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood has written more than forty books, including the novels "The Handmaid’s Tale," "The Robber Bride," "Alias Grace," "Oryx and Crake," "The Year of the Flood," and "The Blind Assassin," which won the 2000 Man Booker Prize. Her most recent book, "In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination," about her relationship with science fiction, came out last year.
  • Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the MIT. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and remains one of the directors of the lab. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. J-PAL received the inaugural BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award for world-class research, and Professor Banerjee received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. In 2011, he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 global thinkers. He has authored many articles and books, including Poor Economics ( which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year, and he finished his first documentary film, "The Name of the Disease," in 2006.
  • Alison Bechdel Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For has become a countercultural institution among lesbians and discerning non-lesbians all over the planet. And her more recent, darkly humorous graphic memoirs about her family have forged an unlikely intimacy with an even wider range of readers.

    In 2006 she published Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Time magazine named it the Best Book of 2006, describing the tightly architected investigation into her closeted bisexual father’s suicide “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.”
  • Harry Bliss Harry Bliss has been contributing cartoons and covers to The New Yorker since 1998. His work is collected in "Death by Laughter," and he has written and illustrated several children’s books, including "Bailey" and "Bailey at the Museum."
  • Katherine Boo Katherine Boo has contributed to The New Yorker since 2001. Her piece "The Marriage Cure," on marriage seminars for the poor in Oklahoma City, received a National Magazine Award. In 2000, she received the Pulitzer Prize for public service. This February, she published "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity."
    Photo Credit: Heleen Welvaart
  • George Booth George Booth sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1969. In 1993, he received the Gag Cartoon Award from the National Cartoonists Society. His work has been collected in several volumes, including "Omnibooth" and "The Essential George Booth."
  • Andy Borowitz Andy Borowitz contributes humor pieces to The New Yorker and writes a satirical column, the Borowitz Report, for His memoir, "An Unexpected Twist," was named Best Kindle Single of 2012 by
  • Geoffrey Canada Geoffrey Canada is the president and C.E.O. of the nonprofit Harlem Children’s Zone, a community-based organization that offers a comprehensive, cradle-through-college network of programs to help eleven thousand local children break the cycle of poverty through education. He is author of "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America" and "Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America."
  • Ron Chernow Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the American History Book Prize for "Washington: A Life," which came out in 2010. His previous books include "The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance," which won a National Book Award for Nonfiction, "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.," and "Alexander Hamilton."
    Photo Credit: Nina Subin
  • Lauren Collins Lauren Collins joined The New Yorker in 2003 and became a staff writer in 2008. Her many subjects have included Michelle Obama, Donatella Versace, the graffiti artist Banksy, and the Daily Mail. She lives in London and covers Europe for the magazine.
  • Kellyanne Conway Kellyanne Conway is the founder and president of the polling company inc./WomanTrend. She has worked for such politicians as Dan Quayle and Fred Thompson and was a senior adviser and pollster for Newt Gingrich’s 2012 Presidential campaign. She is the co-author of "What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live."
  • Mark Costello Mark Costello is the author of the novels "Big If," which was a National Book Award finalist, and "Bag Men." In 1997, he and David Foster Wallace published "Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present." They were roommates at Amherst College.
  • Lena Dunham Lena Dunham is the creator and star of the HBO series "Girls," for which she has received four Emmy nominations. In 2010, she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay for her feature "Tiny Furniture," which she also starred in and directed. In December, she will appear in Judd Apatow’s "This Is 40." She began contributing to The New Yorker this year.
  • Jennifer Egan Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for her novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad," parts of which first appeared in The New Yorker. Her previous books include "Emerald City," "The Invisible Circus," "Look at Me," and "The Keep." Her story "Black Box" appeared in the magazine’s June 4th & 11th Science Fiction Issue.
  • Jonathan Safran Foer Jonathan Safran Foer made his fiction début in The New Yorker in 2001, with "The Very Rigid Search," which was part of his first novel, "Everything Is Illuminated." His other books include the novel "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "Eating Animals," about the ethics of eating meat. In March, he and Nathan Englander published "New American Haggadah."
  • Sasha Frere-Jones Sasha Frere-Jones is The New Yorker’s pop-music critic. His work has been anthologized in the Da Capo Best Music Writing series six times, and he is a member of the band Calvinist.
  • Atul Gawande Atul Gawande has been a New Yorker staff writer since 1998. He is the author of "Complications," "Better," and "The Checklist Manifesto."
  • Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of the Times best-sellers "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," "Outliers: The Story of Success," and "What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures."
  • Adam Gopnik Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. His most recent book is "The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food."
  • Annette Gordon-Reed Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, and a professor of history at Harvard. Her books include "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family," which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for history and the National Book Award for nonfiction; "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy"; and "Andrew Johnson."
  • Melissa Harris-Perry Melissa Harris-Perry is an MSNBC host, a columnist for The Nation, and a professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. Her books include "Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America" and "Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought."
    Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman
  • Margaret Hoover Margaret Hoover served as White House Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President George W. Bush and as the deputy finance director for Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential exploratory committee. She is the author of "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party" and is treasurer of American Unity PAC. She is a great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover.
  • Norah Jones Norah Jones made her début in 2002 with "Come Away with Me." Since then, she has sold more than forty million albums worldwide and won nine Grammy Awards. She has released five solo albums, including her new LP, "Little Broken Hearts," produced by Danger Mouse, as well as two albums with her country collective, the Little Willies, and a compilation of her collaborations, "...Featuring Norah Jones."
    Photo Credit: Frank W. Ockenfels III
  • Mary Karr Mary Karr is the author of the memoirs "The Liars' Club," "Cherry," and "Lit," about her alcoholism, recovery, and conversion to Catholicism. She has also published four volumes of poetry, including, most recently, "Sinners Welcome." She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes, and is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University.
  • Anthony Lane Anthony Lane joined The New Yorker as a film critic in 1993. He is the author of "Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker," a collection of his reviews, essays, and Profiles.
  • Lawrence Lessig Lawrence Lessig is one of our most respected voices on the legal, political, and cultural implications of digital technology. Currently the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, Lessig founded Creative Commons in 2001 to reboot our antiquated copyright system. He is also the director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the founder of Rootstrikers, an activist network working to reduce the influence of money in politics. In 2000, as a professor at Stanford, he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is the author of numerous books, including Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace; The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World; Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy; and Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, he has received numerous honors and was named one of the world’s “Top 50 Visionaries” by Scientific American.
  • Robert Mankoff Robert Mankoff has been a cartoonist for The New Yorker since 1977 and became the magazine's cartoon editor in 1997. He is the founder and former president of the Cartoon Bank, a digital archive of New Yorker cartoons and cover art, and the author of "The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity."
  • David Maraniss David Maraniss is an associate editor at the Washington Post and the author of "Barack Obama: The Story," which came out in June. His many previous books include "First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton," "Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World," and biographies of Vince Lombardi and Roberto Clemente. His work at the Post has earned two Pulitzer Prizes, in 1993 and 2008.
    Photo Credit: Linda Maraniss
  • D.T. Max D. T. Max is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He is the author of "The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery" and "Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace," which came out in August and originated as a piece in the magazine.
    Photo Credit: Flash Rosenberg
  • Jane Mayer Jane Mayer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. Her honors include the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism and a George Polk Award. Her most recent book is "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals."
  • Rebecca Mead Rebecca Mead has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1997. She is the author of "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding" and a forthcoming book about George Eliot and "Middlemarch."
  • Cleta Mitchell Cleta Mitchell is a partner with Foley & Lardner L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. She has represented the National Rifle Association and the national Republican Senate and House campaign committees, and has testified before Congress on election law, campaign finance, and lobbying. She was named one of Washington’s 25 Most Influential Women by the National Journal and is included in "Best Lawyers in America."
  • Edmund Morris Edmund Morris won the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the National Book Award for Biography in 1980 for "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," the first installment of a trilogy that includes "Theodore Rex" and "Colonel Roosevelt." His other books include "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan" and "Beethoven: The Universal Composer." A volume of his literary essays, "This Living Hand," will appear in October.
    Photo Credit: Leslie Lillien Levy
  • Emily Nussbaum Emily Nussbaum joined The New Yorker last fall as the magazine’s television critic. Previously, she wrote for New York.
  • Tea Obreht Tea Obreht was born in Belgrade and lived in Cyprus and Egypt before settling in the United States. Her début story, "The Tiger’s Wife," appeared in The New Yorker’s 2009 Summer Fiction Issue and was part of her first novel, of the same name, which won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.
  • Theodore B. Olson Theodore B. Olson is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Washington, D.C. office, a member of the firm's Executive Committee and founder of the Appellate and Constitutional Law and Crisis Management Practice Groups. Mr. Olson was Solicitor General of the United States during the period 2001-2004. From 1981-1984, he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Except for those two intervals, he has been a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. since 1965.
  • George Packer George Packer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. His books include "The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq," which won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award and an Overseas Press Club book award, and "Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade."
  • David Remnick David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker. He is the author of several books, including "Lenin's Tomb," which won the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award, and "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama."
  • Cecile Richards Cecile Richards became the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 2006. Previously, she founded America Votes and the Texas Freedom Network and served as the deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi. Her honors include the 2010 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. She is a member of the Ford Foundation’s board of trustees.
  • Alex Ross Alex Ross began writing for The New Yorker in 1993 and became the magazine’s music critic in 1996. He is the author of "The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century," which won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism and a Guardian First Book Award, and "Listen to This."
  • Salman Rushdie Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels, including "The Moor’s Last Sigh," "The Enchantress of Florence," and "Midnight’s Children," which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Best of the Booker Award and has just been adapted for film. "Joseph Anton," his memoir about his years of struggle against the Iranian fatwa on his novel "The Satanic Verses," comes out in September. He has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1987.
  • George Saunders George Saunders has written three story collections, including "In Persuasion Nation"; an illustrated novella, "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil"; and "The Braindead Megaphone," a collection of essays, many of which were first published in The New Yorker. His new story collection, "The Tenth of December," comes out next year.
  • Nicholas Schmidle Nicholas Schmidle became a New Yorker staff writer this year. His piece "Getting bin Laden" ran in the magazine last August and was nominated for a 2012 National Magazine Award. He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of "To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years Inside Pakistan."
  • Gary Shteyngart Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad. His novels include "Absurdistan" and "Super Sad True Love Story," which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; excerpts from both books were published in The New Yorker. His début novel, "The Russian Debutante's Handbook," won a Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and a National Jewish Book Award for fiction.
  • Dana Spiotta Dana Spiotta is the author of the novels "Lightning Field"; "Eat the Document," which was a National Book Award finalist and the winner of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and "Stone Arabia," which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.
    Photo Credit: Jessica Marx
  • Judith Thurman Judith Thurman is a staff writer at The New Yorker. "Drawn from Life," her Profile of Alison Bechdel, ran in the April 23rd issue. She is the author of the biographies "Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette" and "Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller" and of "Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire."
  • Deborah Treisman Deborah Treisman is the fiction editor of The New Yorker. This year, she won the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for distinguished achievement in the field of fiction.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist who was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings for the Washington Post. Last year, he wrote a Sidney Award-winning essay for the New York Times Magazine revealing his undocumented status, and subsequently founded Define American, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating the conversation surrounding immigration in the United States.
    Photo Credit: Gerry Salva Cruz
  • Kim Warp Kim Warp has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker since 1999. She received the National Cartoonists Society’s Gag Cartoon Award in 2000.
  • Seth Waxman Seth Waxman was Solicitor General of the United States from 1997 to 2001 and currently chairs the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group at Wilmer Hale. He has argued more than sixty cases before the Supreme Court, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Boumediene v. Bush, and Roper v. Simmons.
  • Dorothy Wickenden Dorothy Wickenden is the executive editor of The New Yorker. Her book, "Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West," came out in paperback in April.
  • Alec Wilkinson Alec Wilkinson joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1980. He is the author of ten books, including "The Happiest Man in the World," "The Protest Singer," and, most recently, "The Ice Balloon: S. A. Andree and the Heroic Age of Arctic Exploration."
  • Lawrence Wright Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.
  • Daniel Zalewski Daniel Zalewski is the features director of The New Yorker.

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

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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.

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