Spring 2019 Season at a Glance



6             Elaine Pagels                                                             Distinguished Writers

When renowned religion scholar, National Book Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author Elaine Pagels was dealing with unimaginable loss—the death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband—questions on the persistence and nature of belief and why religion matters took on a new urgency. In Why Religion?: A Personal Story, Pagels weaves together a personal story with the work that she loves, illuminating how religious traditions have shaped how we understand ourselves; how we relate to one another; and, most importantly, how to get through the most difficult challenges we face.

*11          Dave Eggers & Mokhtar Alkhanshali                       Special Event

In partnership with World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Bestselling author Dave Eggers delivers a “gripping, triumphant adventure” (Los Angeles Time) with The Monk of Mokha, the incredible true story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee. Mokhtar leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. When war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Alkhanshali has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people. Dave Eggers is the author of The Circle, Heroes of the Frontier, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Pulitzer Prize finalist) , and What Is the What (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). 

*15          Brad Meltzer                                                             Distinguished Writers

In The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington and the Birth of American Counterintelligence, author Brad Meltzer brings to light the story of the secret, deadly plot to assassinate the first President of the United States during the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776. The book not only reveals how hard the battle was for the first commander-in-chief and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War, but also illuminates the origins of America’s counterintelligence movement, which led to the modern CIA. Former President George H. W. Bush calls it “a wonderful book about leadership and it shows why George Washington and his moral lessons are just as vital today.”

17     Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies                                 Moveable Feast Book Club

Join fellow bibliophiles for lunch in the DMA’s Founders Room as you enjoy thoughtful dialogue about Lauren Groff’s award-winning novel Fates and Furies. Library Journal “highly recommends” Groff’s complex depiction of marriage, creativity, and power, saying, “Like a classic tragedy, Groff’s novel offers high drama, hubris, and epic love, complete with Greek chorus–like asides. A singular and compelling literary read, populated with extraordinary characters.” Dr. Jaina Sanga, author, literary scholar, and Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities, will facilitate the conversation and lead the group discussion.

27            Lauren Groff & Tessa Hadley                                Distinguished Writers

At this event, two masters of the art of the novel and short stories will discuss their creative process and common themes in their work. Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies is a New York Times–bestselling novel about love, art, power, and perception—a portrait of a creative partnership between a young, glamorous couple, madly in love and destined for greatness. Although their marriage is the envy of their friends, through riveting twists we learn that the key to its success relies on keeping secrets. Fates and Furies was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Prize, and the Kirkus Prize.

In British author Tessa Hadley’s latest novel, Late in the Day, the 30-year bond between a quartet of close friends comes unglued when one of them dies unexpectedly; old entanglements and grievances rise from the past, and love and sorrow give way to anger and bitterness. In exploring the complex webs at the center of our most intimate relationships, the Washington Post says Hadley “crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural.”


2        All In The Family                                           Selected Shorts                                              

        Promotional Partner: KERA

All in the Family is an evening of humorous and poignant stories illuminating the intricacies of family dynamics. Host and reader Melora Hardin is recognized worldwide as Jan Levinson from NBC’s The Office. She can currently be seen in the hit series The Bold Type and on Amazon’s Transparent in her Emmy-nominated role as Tammy Cashman. Nate Corddry has been featured in recurring television roles on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Harry’s Law, and Mom. Additional credits include The Daily Show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, 30 Rock, and many more. Kaneza Schaal has worked on stage with Elevator Repair Service, The Wooster Group, and New York City Opera, performing at venues including Centre Pompidou, Royal Lyceum Theater Edinburgh, and MoMA. On camera, she has worked with Kathryn Bigelow, Marya Cohn, Josephine Decker, and the Law & Order team.

4              Dani Shapiro                                                            Distinguished Writers

In the spring of 2016, through DNA analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. In one moment, her entire history crumbled beneath her. Inheritance is a book about secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness, and secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It highlights Shapiro’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, which had been scrupulously hidden from her for more than 50 years, during which time she wrote brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history.

11            Ida O’Keeffe                                                              Artful Musings

Immerse yourself in the life and art of Ida O’Keeffe in conjunction with the DMA’s exhibition Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow. Sue Canterbury, The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA, will give insights from her years of research tracking down Ida’s series of lighthouse paintings. Actors will bring to life the complex relationships between Ida O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, and Georgia O’Keeffe, weaving together primary sources and letters with art, drawings, and photographs that reveal the enjoyment Ida and Georgia took in each other’s company prior to their estrangement in the early 1930s, as well as Stieglitz’s fascination with Ida. Quin Mathews’ short original film about the artist will also be shown at this event.

21         Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist                            A Moveable Feast Book Club

Join fellow book lovers for lunch in the DMA’s Founders Room and enjoy engaging dialogue about Jessie Burton’s novel The Miniaturist. Set in 17th-century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—The Miniaturist is a story steeped in atmosphere, suspense, betrayal, and retribution. Dr. Jaina Sanga, author, literary scholar, and Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities, will facilitate the conversation and lead the group discussion.

25        Reyna Grande & Valeria Luiselli                               New & Notable

Reyna Grande’s memoir A Dream Called Home is an inspiring account of her quest to find her place in America as a first generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family. At 9 years old, Grande walked across the US-Mexico border in search of her parents, who left her behind years ago in pursuit of a better life. By daring to pursue her dreams of an education and a writing career, Grande builds the one thing she has always longed for: a home that would endure.

Valeria Luiselli’s novel Lost Children Archive humanizes the pressing and polarizing issue of immigration. As a family travels across America on a summer road trip, there is news on the radio about an “immigration crisis”: thousands of kids trying to cross the border into the United States, but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way. As they drive, we sense that the family is on the brink of a crisis of its own. This powerful novel takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.


4              Texas Bound I                                                                  Texas Bound

“Compelling stories and passionate acting, all literally from the heart of Texas.” —Southern Living

Tiffany Solano DeSena of Dallas Theater Center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company will read “Signs, Wonders, and Fates Fulfilled” by Stephanie Saldaña. Jeffrey Schmidt, Artistic Director of Theatre Three in Dallas, will read “So Many Lovely Lies” by Andrew Geyer. Perennial audience favorite G. W. Bailey (M*A*S*H, The Police Academy films, and TNT’s Major Crimes) will read “Let Me Let You Go” by Jamie Brickhouse. The evening will also feature “The Red Swing” by local author Phyllis W. Allen.


6         The Miniaturist: From Page to Screen                             Artful Musings

           Promotional Partner: KERA

When British author Jessie Burton’s New York Times–bestselling debut novel, The Miniaturist, premiered as a three-part series on PBS Masterpiece, it brought 17th-century Dutch culture vividly to life. At this event, Burton will share insights about her novel, and Susie Rogers and Kevin Mulvany, who trained as art historians, will discuss their creative process in making the miniatures used in the television series.

6:30 p.m.: Enjoy a tour of 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings and other decorative arts that resonate with themes in The Miniaturist.  

21        World of Musicals                                                     Special Event

         Location: Moody Performance Hall

The World of Musicals brings the very best of musical theater to life. This captivating production is an emotional journey through the great world of musicals that will leave the audience spellbound. With beautiful ballads from Evita, Les Misérables, and Phantom of the Opera, along with upbeat favorites from Dirty Dancing, We Will Rock You, and Mamma Mia, there is something in this show for everyone. This is a show for the entire family, so get ready to be enthralled and sing along to all your favorite musicals in one unforgettable evening. The audience will also vote in advance to select a few numbers that they want to hear!

26          Maria Semple                                                        Fiction into Film

A hysterical dramedy about a family in crisis after the disappearance of its brilliant, misanthropic matriarch, Maria Semple’s breakout novel Where’d You Go Bernadette spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list, and will soon be a major motion picture by director Richard Linklater starring Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Judy Greer. At this event, Semple will discuss the fiction to film process, shedding light on the upcoming film adaptation, as well as on her own television writing career. She has written for Ellen, Mad About You, Arrested Development, and other shows. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The Los Angeles Times.


1              Texas Bound II                                                                      Texas Bound

“Compelling stories and passionate acting, all literally from the heart of Texas.” —Southern Living                             

Rosaura Cruz, Executive Director of Junior Players, will read “Go Boom” by Elizabeth Hamilton. Lydia Mackay, Assistant Professor of Performance in the Theatre Department at TCU, will read “Survivor Honeymoon” by Amanda Eyre Ward. The evening will also feature Brad Leland of Friday Night Lights and Deep Water Horizon reading “The Dead Languages” by William Humphrey.

2             Madeline Miller’s Circe                                       A Moveable Feast Book Club

Join fellow bibliophiles for lunch in the DMA’s Founders Room as you enjoy thoughtful conversation about Madeline Miller’s bestseller Circe. The New York Times effused that “Circe [is] a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story that manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.” Dr. Jaina Sanga, author, literary scholar, and Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities, will facilitate the conversation and lead the group discussion.

9            Madeline Miller & Mary Norris                                              Special Event

This event will pair two powerful authors for a festive evening of Greek art, myth, travel, and food! With vivid characters, poetic language, and page-turning suspense, Madeline Miller’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel Circe is a triumph of storytelling featuring the Odyssey’s most infamous female figure; it’s an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, love, and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world. Mary Norris, the beloved “Comma Queen” of The New Yorker’s copy department, returns with a witty, wise, and charming book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea of Greece. Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen is an unforgettable account of both her life-long love affair with words and her solo adventures to the land of ouzo and olive trees.

6:30 p.m.: Enjoy a pre-event tour of works from Greece in the DMA’s collection.

14           Susan Choi & Nell Freudenberger                            New & Notable

In Susan Choi’s new novel Trust Exercise, what happens in one highly competitive performing arts high school reverberates through lives—and across generations. Captivating, tender, and surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, and the wise capacities of adolescents and the powers and responsibilities of adults. Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger is a suspenseful exploration of female friendship, love, and parenthood bonds. Two friends, once on similar academic career paths in science, drifted apart after one abandons a potentially brilliant career in academia, in part because of unwanted attention from a star professor. Both authors are recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships and PEN awards.

17            Rick Bragg & Helen Ellis                      Wit & Wisdom—Southern Style!

In The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table, Rick Bragg preserves his southern heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother’s cooking and education, from childhood to old age. This New York Times bestseller includes 74 mouthwatering Bragg family recipes for classic southern dishes in a delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a family, and especially, to his mother. Helen Ellis, the bestselling author of American Housewife, is back with a fiercely funny collection of essays on marriage and manners, thank-you notes and three-ways, and the Calgon-scented, onion-dipped, monogrammed art of living as a Southern Lady. Ann Pachett loved Southern Lady Code saying, “As a Southern Lady myself, I cannot only confirm the veracity of the facts, I can tell you the book made me laugh like a hyena.”

23            Tayari Jones                                                              New & Notable

In An American Marriage by New York Times bestselling author Tayari Jones, newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. When Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit, she becomes unmoored and seeks comfort from a childhood friend and best man at their wedding. An Oprah’s Book Club selection, An American Marriage is a stirring love story that delves deep into the hearts and souls of three people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

*24         David Brooks                                             Distinguished Writers

     In partnership with World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

    Location: Temple Emanu-El

The Second Mountain by New York Times columnist David Brooks is a thought-provoking commentary on the rampant individualism that has become the defining ethos of our culture. Brooks explores what it means to lead a meaningful life, suggesting that the first mountain an individual faces is about building up the ego, defining the self, and striving for success; the second mountain is about shedding the ego, planting yourself amid those who need, and giving yourself away. Brooks has spent more than five years thinking about how to give life meaning after worldly success failed to fulfill. This new book is the product of his personal quest for a joyful life.


1            David Sedaris                                                                              Wit & Wisdom

     Location: McFarlin Auditorium, Southern Methodist University

Beloved satirist David Sedaris returns for his tenth consecutive year with Arts & Letters Live to share new and unpublished essays, imparting his incisive social critiques and sharing his sardonic wit with devoted fans. Hailed as the “rock star of writers,” Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers, with bestselling books such as Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays including Calypso, Theft by Finding: Diaries (19772002), Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.  

*3         Melinda Gates                                                                  Special Event

           Location: Fellowship Dallas

Melinda Gates’s inspiring debut The Moment of Lift traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. One thing has become increasingly clear to her: if you want to lift a society up, invest in women. Gates introduces us to her heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data, and shares moving conversations she’s had with women from all over the world. A personal statement of passionate conviction, she traces her evolution from a partner working behind the scenes to one of the world’s foremost advocates for women, driven by the belief that all lives have equal value, and gender equity is the lever that lifts everything.

7        David Brooks’s The Second Mountain                         A Moveable Feast Book Club

Join other book lovers for lunch in the DMA’s Boardroom and enjoy stimulating conversation about David Brooks’s latest book, The Second Mountain, his deeply personal exploration of what it means to lead a joyful life. Brooks spent more than five years thinking about how to give life meaning after worldly success failed to fulfill him, and his book shares insights into the perils of the rampant individualism that has become the defining ethos of our culture. Rabbi David Stern, Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, will facilitate the conversation and lead the group discussion.

13            Jared Diamond                                            Distinguished Writers

First United Methodist Church

Esteemed scientist and historian Jared Diamond presents a brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others do not. Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis reveals how seven countries have successfully survived defining upheavals in the recent past through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, and identifies patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, Diamond investigates whether the United States and the world are squandering their natural advantages, on a path toward political conflict and decline. Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize for his internationally bestselling book Guns, Germs, and Steel.


Ticket prices vary. View details online at DMA.org/all.
All programs will take place in the DMA’s Horchow Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Several programs have pre-event tours of the DMA’s collection that relate thematically to the book featured. See individual event pages for full information about art-related tours and special dinners before Arts & Letters Live events.

* Denotes a program that requires a book to be purchased with ticket(s)


Arts & Letters Live is supported by Annual Season Supporters, the Kay Cattarulla Endowment for the Literary and Performing Arts, and the McGee Foundation Arts & Letters Live Endowment Fund at the Dallas Museum of Art. Additional major support provided by The Hersh Foundation. The Fairmont Hotel Dallas is the exclusive hotel partner for the 2019 Arts & Letters Live series. Promotional support provided by KERA. Exclusive magazine sponsor is Magazine.