The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany has announced Telling the Truth 2020 on November 11-18, a week-long series of in-depth conversations with authors, journalists, political observers, social critics, former public officials, and thought leaders examining the toxic divisions of America’s political landscape.
“It’s our hope that Telling the Truth 2020 will be a force for good and will provide a public service by bringing together experts with a wide range of perspectives,” said Paul Grondahl, Director of the NYS Writers Institute, in an announcement sent to New York Almanack. “We want these events to be conversations of healing, of finding common ground, and of listening respectfully to viewpoints different than our own. We hope this weeklong symposium will build bridges of empathy rather than erecting more walls of fear and hatred.”
Telling the Truth 2020 is the Writers Institute’s third major event of the fall season, following the Albany Book Festival in September and The Time for Reckoning Symposium on systemic racism in October.
It is also the third time the Institute has turned its attention to issues of truth-telling, journalism, and ethics. A three-day Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World event was held in 2017 and Telling the Truth: A Symposium on the Craft of Nonfiction took place in 1991.
Topics discussed during Telling the Truth 2020 include the troubling rise of tribalism, the deep divide and mistrust across the political spectrum, the manipulation of social media, and the hijacking of truth through ongoing assaults both internally and from foreign sources who seek to erode the bedrock principles of a free and open democratic society.
Events will be available online at on the Institute’s website and Youtube. Videos will premiere at 11 am on November 11-18 and can be viewed at any time following their launch. (Note: Many of the conversations were recorded before Election Day.)
All events are free and open to the public. No registration required.
Schedule of events:
Wednesday, November 11: Elif Shafak, author of How To Stay Sane In An Age Of Division.
Thursday, November 12: Amy Chua, author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.
Friday, November 13: Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, co-authors of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics.
Saturday, November 14: Casey B. Mulligan and Joe Grogan. Mulligan served as the Chief Economist of President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers and more recently authored You’re Hired!: Untold Successes and Failures of a Populist President. Grogan, a 1994 UAlbany graduate, served as Director of the United States Domestic Policy Council and assistant to President Donald Trump.
Sunday, November 15: Allison Schrager, financial economist and expert on risk, author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel.
Michael Strain, economist and Bloomberg Opinion columnist, the author of The American Dream is Not Dead (But Populism Could Kill It).
Monday, November 16: John Lithgow, renowned American actor, and the author of two bestselling collections of satirical poetry, Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse, and Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age.
Tuesday, November 17: David Hopkins is the author of Red Fighting Blue: How Geography and Electoral Rules Polarize American Politics.
Wednesday, November 18: Event to be announced at a later date.
Telling the Truth 2020 is presented by the New York State Writers Institute in partnership with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany and WAMC Northeast Public Radio.