Each year the Library hosts readings, lectures, and discussions by authors and other public figures. You may watch video recordings of recent programs on our YouTube channel. Our archive of audio recordings goes back more than 10 years and includes thousands of memorable Library events.
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Door to a Pink Universe Awards Ceremony
Listen in as The Seattle Public Library hosts the "Door to a Pink Universe" Award Ceremony. The flash fiction contest was held in tribute to science fiction writer Octavia Butler. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Seattle writer's passing. The 2016 theme for National Library Week is "Libraries Transform." -- Octavia Butler heralded libraries for their contribution in her development as a writer. Her life was transformed when she found refuge and riches within the walls of libraries. Through multiracial characters and aliens, Butler challenged long-held societal norms around race, gender and power and reimagined the future. The work that grew out of her journey as a writer, transformed the science fiction world and continues to do so to this day. -- The flash fiction contest, Door to a Pink Universe, invited submissions of works of science fiction set in any one of The Seattle Public Library locations that evoke the social, racial and historical themes found in Octavia Butler's fiction. Listen as we celebrate the winners of the Door to a Pink Universe contest, as well as honor those whose works garnered an honorable mention.
Listen to Audio (01:04:43)
Award-winning historian Adam Hochschild discusses 'Spain in Our Hearts'
Adam Hochschild's new book 'Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939' tells a history of the war through the lens of the U.S. involvement in it. The Spanish Civil War was a war between fascism, communism, and democracy that preceded World War II -- a tale of idealism and a noble cause that failed. Hochschild recounts the personal narratives of some of the participants: Americans in the Lincoln Brigade, Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell. He explores why they went and what, in retrospect, they felt about the conflict and their participation in it.
Listen to Audio (01:06:36)
LGBTQ Immigrant, Refugee and Undocumented Immigrant Celebration
LGBTQ immigrants, refugees and undocumented individuals living in King County helped Seattle Counseling Service uncover the barriers they face to accessing behavioral health care in King County. Join us in a celebration of their courage, learn what we uncovered and how we can create services for everyone in our community!
Listen to Audio (00:43:56)
Colleen McElroy reads from 'Blood Memory'
Through the rhythms and musicality of McElroy's voice, "Blood Memory" portrays an extended family, a complex culture spanning several decades, multiple victories and failures. This is consummate storytelling and unforgettable poetry capturing a place and time gone forever. -- "She is still the master storyteller to the 60 million of the Passage. When I didn't know how to be a poet, I first read Colleen McElroy to slowly walk the path to how."-Nikky Finney -- "A testimonial to family that startles us with its beauty. And blood. ..."-Sonia Sanchez.
Listen to Audio (00:52:09)
Bharti Kirchner discusses her novel 'Goddess of Fire'
Kirchner reads and discusses her novel with Seattle University English Professor Nalini Iyer. 'Goddess of Fire,' a historical novel set in 17th century India, tells the story of a village woman's rise through the ranks of the British East India Company. -- Moorti, widowed at just 17 and about to be burned on her husband's funeral pyre, is saved from the fire by the Englishman Job Charnock. Taken to safety and given employment by Charnock, Moorti, renamed Maria, must embrace her new life amongst the English traders. But the intelligent and talented Maria is not content to be a servant for the rest of her life. Moorti realizes that learning English will be her path to success. 'Goddess of Fire,' based on a true story, tells how Moorti rises through the British East India Company to eventually become founder of Calcutta, the first city of the British Empire.
Listen to Audio (00:50:18)
Damon Tweedy reads and discusses his memoir 'Black Man in a White Coat'
'Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine,' explores Damon Tweedy's experience grappling with race, bias and the unique health problems of black Americans. Tweedy, an African American psychiatrist, examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. -- "On one level the book is a straightforward memoir; on another it's a thoughtful, painfully honest, multi-angled, constant self-interrogation about himself and about the health implications of being black." (The New York Times). -- "Tweedy expertly weaves together statistics, personal anecdotes, and patient stories to explain why 'being black can be bad for your health'... A smart, thought-provoking, frontline look at race and medicine." (Booklist starred review).
Listen to Audio (01:07:17)
Ethan Canin reads from his new novel 'A Doubter’s Almanac'
'A Doubter's Almanac' explores the nature of genius, rivalry, ambition and love in multiple generations of a gifted family in the latest novel from bestselling author Ethan Canin. -- "A nuanced, heartbreaking portrait of a tortured mathematician. Canin, in translucent prose, elucidates the way a mathematician sees the world and humanity's own insignificance within it. A harrowing, poignant read about the blessing and curse of genius." Booklist (starred review) -- Ethan Canin is the author of seven books, including the story collections 'Emperor of the Air' and 'The Palace Thief' and the novels 'For Kings and Planets', 'Carry Me Across the Water', and 'America America'.
Listen to Audio (01:12:32)
First Folio Panel: Shakespeare in America
Join expert panelists to explore the influence of Shakespeare in America. At one time, the two most likely books in the American family library were the Bible and Shakespeare. -- Dr. Allison Meyer a Shakespeare Scholar at Seattle University, George Mount, Artistic Director for Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Michael Paulus, University Librarian and Associate Professor, Seattle Pacific University will address a set of questions about how and why the Bard became so important to Americans.
Listen to Audio (01:22:22)
'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution'
A new revolutionary culture emerged in the turbulent 1960s, and the Black Panther Party was at the vanguard. Weaving together a treasure trove of rare footage with the voices of a diverse group of people who were there, Director Stanley Nelson tells the vibrant story of a pivotal movement as urgent today as it was then. -- Listen to a panel discussion that followed the screening of the documentary 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution', with LaShawnDa Pittman (Assistant Professor at UW) and Elmer Dixon (former Black Panther member in Seattle).
Listen to Audio (00:50:29)
Bestselling novelist Yann Martel reads from 'The High Mountains of Portugal'
'The High Mountains of Portugal' is part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable -- a haunting exploration of great love and great loss from the bestselling author of 'Life of Pi.' -- In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that, if he can find it, would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe's earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure. Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás's quest. Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
Listen to Audio (00:48:04)