Chicago Humanities Festival presents line-up of events

LeVar Burton, Jhumpa Lahiri, Casey Wilson, Michio Kaku and more at Chicago Humanities Festival

Chicago Humanities Festival is announcing an exciting line-up of virtual programs with award-winning writers, groundbreaking scholars, and cultural icons in late-April and May. 

Renowned speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku interviewed by actor LeVar Burton, SNL and Happy Endings star Casey Wilson, graphic memoirist of Fun Home fame Alison Bechdel, and the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig in conversation with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell among many others. 

“So many of the questions we’ve been exploring over the past year continue to resonate this spring,” said Alison Cuddy, CHF’s Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director. “We think the range of speakers and subjects we’ve assembled are compelling and provocative, and hope they help us better navigate serious issues like political division, health disparities and economic racism, while also creating space for a bit of relief and reflection – or even joy.” 

These newly released programs will follow other upcoming virtual events already announced this spring, including Heather McGhee talking about racism and inequality, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert on the environment and her new book “Under the White Sky.” 


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Following is a complete list of upcoming Chicago Humanities Festival events: 

All events are virtual and run from 7:00 – 8:00 PM Central 

April 20, Heather McGhee: Chair of the Board of Directors at Color of Change talks about her new book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We can Prosper Together 

April 21, What’s Next: Political Division: Amy Walter (The Cook Political Report), Valerie Johnson (DePaul University), Barbara Perry (UVA), and Mona Charen (The Bulwark) convene to talk about political polarization 

April 22, Elizabeth Kolbert: Pulitzer Prize-winning author will talk about her new book, Under a White Sky, and how human invention can save our planet 

April 27, Social Media and Democracy: the second in a three-part series hosted by University of Chicago’s Geoffrey Stone that dives deep into the issue of free speech 

April 28, Jhumpa Lahiri: the Pulitzer Prize winning writer joins us to talk about her first novel in a decade. She will be joined in conversation by poet and translator Jennifer Scappettone 

April 29, Michio Kaku: the renowned theoretical physicist will talk about his new book The God Equation with actor LeVar Burton (Star Trek

May 4, Louis Menand: this Professor of English at Harvard joins CHF to discuss his new book about the art and ideas that came from the Cold War and shaped American culture 

May 5, Michelle Zauner: known as indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, Zauner discusses her memoir, growing up Korean American, and becoming a musician 

May 6, Salamishah Tillet: New York Times’s critic Salamishah Tillet joins WBEZ’s Natalie Moore for a conversation about the ongoing significance of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple 

May 11, Alison Bechdel: cartoonist and graphic memoirist of Fun Home fame talks life, comics, and her new graphic memoir about her relationship with exercise and fitness 

May 12, Casey Wilson: comedian and actress (SNL, Happy Endings) discusses her memoir with writer and comedian Jessi Klein and actor Andrew Rannells 

May 13, Martha Nussbaum: University of Chicago Law & Ethics Professor discusses her latest book, Citadels of Pride, systemic sexual abuse, and toxic masculinity 

May 18, Madeline Miller: “Between the Lines” book club reads Circe and talks with its inimitable author (this is a member-exclusive event) 

May 19, What’s Next: Health and Equity: doctors and scholars convene to discuss the current state of inequality in our healthcare system and how to make health more equitable 

May 20, The Past and Future of Comics: pop culture scholar Dr. Grace D. Gipson and Chicago cartoonist Bianca Zunise talk about the history and future of comic books in Chicago 

May 25, Carol Leonnig: this Washington Post reporter joins with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell to talk about the rise and fall of the secret service and Leonnig’s new book, Zero Fail 

May 27, Hate Speech: the third of this three-part series hosted by University of Chicago’s Geoffrey Stone that dives deep into the issue of free speech 

FULL CALENDAR OF EVENTS HERE


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