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Dan Brown, Susan Choi, Ayad Akhtar, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Among the Featured Speakers at the Authors Guild’s Inaugural WIT Festival in the Berkshires Sept 22-25

Registration opens June 6 for Giving Society members and June 20 for the general public

New York (June 6, 2022): The Authors Guild, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization for published writers, launches its inaugural WIT: Words, Ideas and Thinkers Festival on September 22-25. The three-day festival in Lenox, Massachusetts, will bring together award-winning novelists, historians, playwrights and academics for a series of thought-provoking conversations that celebrate a rich literary and intellectual culture and amplify new voices and perspectives.

Thanks to the generous support of sponsors and donors to the Authors Guild Foundation, the educational and charitable arm of the Authors Guild, all discussions, book signings and authors’ Q&As will be free and open to the general public.

“America stands at a crossroads as to what and who we collectively want to be and stand for. That is why we selected ‘Reimagining America’ for the theme of this year’s WIT Festival,” said Lynn Boulger, Executive Director of the Authors Guild Foundation. “Our featured speakers will explore the core issues at stake and share insights into what our future may look like.”

Below are the featured speakers and panel discussions scheduled so far. Additional speakers will be added shortly.

  • When Religion Meets Science with Dan Brown
    Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels including The Da Vinci Code. The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus, where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes form the backdrop for his books, including his latest novel Origin.
  • Does the Supreme Court Have a Future? with Linda Greenhouse and Nikolas Bowie
    The leak of an early draft of the majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has set off a maelstrom about the trustworthiness and politicization of the Supreme Court. Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie will talk about the future of SCOTUS with Pulitzer Prize-winner Linda Greenhouse.

  • Identity and Belonging with Ayad Akhtar and Susan Choi
    Susan Choi is the author of five novels, including Trust Exercise, which won the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction. Ayad Akhtar is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of the novel Homeland Elegies, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2020 by The New York Times and 2020 Best Book of the Year by O Magazine. The two authors will discuss the concept of identity and belonging in their works and the nation at large.
  • Reexamining American History with David Blight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    David W. Blight, Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, will discuss lessons from Frederick Douglass and what we have failed to learn since his vision for a reborn America.
  • Can Climate Change by Solved? with Elizabeth Kolbert
    Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, who has traveled from Alaska to Greenland to visit top scientists in the field and get to the heart of the debate over global warming, will discuss what can be done about climate change and how we can save our planet.
  • America and China: Comes the Moment with Simon Winchester and Admiral Harry Harris, U.S. Navy (Retired)
    Journalist Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of 14 works of nonfiction, including The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, Pacific, The Men Who United the States and Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World. Admiral Harry Harris, U.S. Navy (Retired) served as the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from July 2018 to January 2021 after 40 years on active duty.

Join the AGF Giving Society to get early registration and preferential seating

Though WIT Festival panel discussions are free and open to all, seating is limited, so registration is required. To thank them for their support, members of the Authors Guild Foundation’s Giving Society receive preferential seating for all events and early registration beginning June 6. They can then reserve tickets for one or more panel discussions starting July 25.

General registration opens June 20. Once registered, attendees can sign up for free tickets for one or more panel discussions beginning August 16.

Those interested in attending one or more scheduled dinners with event speakers and other special guests must purchase tickets separately. Dinner ticket sales begin July 25 for Giving Society members and August 16 for the general public. Become a member of the AGF Giving Society today.

Weather permitting, some WIT Festival events may take place in outside venues on the Shakespeare & Company campus. The WIT Festival will follow CDC and Massachusetts Public Health COVID-19 rules for gatherings.

Register or find more information, including hotel accommodations and dining options, at authorsguild.org/witfestival.

About the Authors Guild and the Authors Guild Foundation

With more than 12,000 members, the Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for published writers. It advocates on behalf of working writers to protect free speech, freedom of expression and authors’ copyrights; fights for fair contracts and authors’ ability to earn a livable wage; and provides a welcoming community for writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and journalism. Free programming to teach working writers about the business of writing, and public events that highlight the importance of a rich, diverse American literary culture and the authors that contribute to it, is made possible through the Authors Guild Foundation, the Guild’s educational and charitable arm.