SUN VALLEY WRITER’S CONFERENCE 2016

joyceCROSSING TO SAFETY. NOTHING BUT BRILLIANT MINDS. A WEEK OF INCREDIBLE LEARNING. HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SESSIONS:

WOW! IF YOU NEED ONE BOOK THIS YEAR MAKE IT THIS ONE!
Just Mercy
David Halberstam Memorial Lecture
There are books that seem to spring from the soul of the country. So it is with Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, which goes right to the heart of our inequitable justice system and the strains of racism that continue to haunt our democracy. Stevenson was an idealistic young lawyer when he founded the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative, a move that put him on the front lines of a battle to free dozens of people, mostly poor and black, from wrongful or excessive imprisonment. He will talk to us about his work, his book, and about how we can work to overcome injustice at a time when both the left and the right in this country agree that our broken system must be fixed.

brian-stevensonBryan Stevenson

The founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, BRYAN STEVENSON is an attorney, a New York University law professor, and the author of JUST MERCY: A STORY OF JUSTICE AND REDEMPTION. That book, published in 2014, won the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction and an NAACP Image Award, was a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kirkus Reviews Prize, and was listed as one of the Best Books of the Year by numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, and TIME. Stevenson’s Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative, formed to combat racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, curbing abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. His activism and advocacy has earned him many honors, including a 1995 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a 2004 Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a 2004 National Lawyers Guild Lawyer for the People Award. In 2012, Stevenson received Smithsonian magazine’s American Ingenuity Award in social progress.

eaglemanDavid Eagleman

WE CAN NEVER KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT OUR BRAINS! HE EVEN KNOWS HOW TO CURE ADDICTIONS.
The Brain: The Story of You
What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In considering these and other questions, neuroscientist and author David Eagleman will guide us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality, all the while offering us a clearer picture of how our brains shape our lives and how our lives, in turn, shape our brains.

Neuroscientist DAVID EAGLEMAN is the presenter of the six-part PBS series The Brain with David Eagleman and the writer of the companion volume to that series, THE BRAIN: THE STORY OF YOU, as well as four earlier scientific books and a collection of literary fiction, SUM: FORTY TALES FROM THE AFTERLIVES, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble, New Scientist, and the Chicago Tribune. Eagleman holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, where he directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action and has founded and directs the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. His wide-ranging research encompasses time perception, vision, synesthesia, brain plasticity, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system. Eagleman’s nonfiction books include INCOGNITO, WEDNESDAY IS INDIGO BLUE, WHY THE NET MATTERS, and the forthcoming LIVEWIRED: HOW THE BRAIN REWIRES ITS OWN CIRCUITRY. His work has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Discover, Slate, Wired, and New Scientist, and he appears regularly on National Public Radio and the BBC to discuss science and literature.

ciaranCiaran O’Reilly

    A Celebration of Yeats

“I want all my poetry to be spoken on a stage . . . or sung.” So said the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and we do his bidding tonight, courtesy of New York City’s Irish Repertory Theatre. Performers will bring their spoken and musical talents and their love of Yeats to the stage on the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, an event immortalized in one of Yeats’ most famous poems. But he wrote too of first love, fading love, and old age in words that continue to pierce the heart. The founders of the Irish Rep, Ciarán O’Reilly and Terry Donnelly, substituting for Charlotte Moore, will be joined by actors and musicians Gabriel Donohue, Ciarán Sheehan and Gregory Harrington, as well as novelist Anne Enright.

CIARÁN O’REILLY is the co-founder and producing director of The Irish Repertory Theatre in New York. His favorite directing credits include THE WEIR (a Callaway Award nominee), BANISHED CHILDREN OF EVE, THE EMPEROR JONES (which won a Callaway Award and an O’Neill Credo Award and was a Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel nominee), THE HAIRY APE (a Drama Desk, Drama League and Callaway nominee) and PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! (a Drama Desk nominee). Among his many Irish Rep roles are DA, JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, DANCING AT LUGHNASA, A WHISTLE IN THE DARK, and THE IRISH AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY. He appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of A TOUGH OF THE POET with Gabriel Byrne, has appeared at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and made his Broadway debut in THE CORN IS GREEN. O’Reilly has been honored three times by Irish America magazine with the Irish America “Top 100 Irish” Award.

benioffDavid Benioff

ARE YOU A GAME OF THRONES ADDICT? FASCINATING BACKGROUND ON THE MOST WATCHED TV SERIES IN THE WORLD.
Television and the Art of Storytelling: Game of Thrones
Since its HBO debut in 2011, Game of Thrones has grown to be one of the most popular and critically acclaimed series on television. Join its Emmy Award-winning co-creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as they talk to PBS News Hour’s Jeffrey brown about the extraordinary challenges of adapting George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels and about what the process has taught them about writing, storytelling . . . and, yes, dragons.

Novelist, screenwriter, and television producer DAVID BENIOFF is the co-creator, writer, and showrunner of the HBO series Game of Thrones, which heads into its sixth season in April. Benioff has also written screenplays for several feature films, including an adaptation of his own 2004 debut novel THE 25TH HOUR, starring Edward Norton and directed by Spike Lee, and the 2007 adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s THE KITE RUNNER. A former high school English teacher, Benioff is the author of the story collection WHEN THE NINES ROLL OVER and a second novel published in 2008, CITY OF THIEVES. He and D. B. Weiss, his friend and collaborator on the wildly popular Game of Thrones series, are currently working on their first feature film project together, an adaptation of Stephen Hunter’s thriller DIRTY WHITE BOYS.

reillyD.B. Weiss

Novelist, producer, and screenwriter D.B. WEISS is the co-creator, executive producer, and occasional director of the Emmy Award-winning and Hugo Award-winning hit series Game of Thrones, the HBO adaption of George R. R. Martin’s SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books, which will enter its sixth season in April. In addition to their work together on Thrones, Weiss and collaborator David Benioff are currently working on their first feature-film project together, an adaptation of Stephen Hunter’s thriller, DIRTY WHITE BOYS. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, Weiss is the author of the 2003 novel, LUCKY WANDER BOY.

breyerStephen Breyer

BRILLIANT PERSPECTIVE FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO INTEGRATE A WORLD PERSPECTIVE IN TODAY’S DECISIONS!

The Court and the World
In his bold and timely new book, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer examines American law and its
relationship to an increasingly interconnected world. Globalization has made it impossible, he says, for this country to remain aloof from knowledge of foreign laws. After all, Americans are daily engaged in cross-border issues – matters of security, trade, human rights, even child custody battles. In a conversation with Strobe Talbott, Justice Breyer will roam the world and enlighten us about new realities facing not only American jurists but all of us.

STEPHEN BREYER has been an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court for over two decades. His most recent book, THE COURT AND THE WORLD: AMERICAN LAW AND THE NEW GLOBAL REALITIES, trains his long experience on the question of how international legal norms may influence future Supreme Court decision-making. In his two previous books-ACTIVE LIBERTY and MAKING OUR DEMOCRACY WORK-he kept his analysis closer to home, on the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court’s role in interpreting it. A professor for many years at both Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government, Justice Breyer has also worked as a Supreme Court law clerk (for Justice Arthur Goldberg), a Justice Department lawyer (in the antitrust division), an assistant Watergate special prosecutor, and chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee (working closely with Senator Ted Kennedy to pass the Airline Deregulation Act). In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and in 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

milibrandDavid Milibrand

THE REFUGEE CRISIS IS SURELY ONE OF OUR BIGGEST WORLD PROBLEMS. AN ABSOLUTE GENIUS WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE COMMITTEE AND THE FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY.

Exodus: The Crisis of the World’s Refugees
To close the conference, David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee, will address the plight of the 50 million refugees around the globe (half of them women and children) and, in particular, the massive exodus from the Middle East that threatens the survival of the European Union. As the leader of one of the foremost nongovernmental organizations addressing the world’s humanitarian crises, and as a former British Foreign Secretary, Miliband is uniquely positioned to expand our understanding of a great and urgent global problem, and what we, as citizens, can do to help.

Former British Foreign Secretary and Labour Party MP, DAVID MILIBAND resigned from Parliament in 2013 to become the president and CEO of the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC). As head of the IRC, a relief organization founded by Albert Einstein, Miliband – who is himself the son of Holocaust refugees – oversees humanitarian relief operations in more than 30 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs in 25 U.S. cities. Before his election to Parliament for the seat of South Shields in 2001, Miliband had been a policy advisor to Tony Blair and in 1997 became the head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit. Before taking on his three-year post as Foreign Secretary in 2007, Miliband served as Secretary of State for the Environment, pioneering the world’s first legally binding emissions reduction requirements. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has lauded Miliband as a passionate advocate for the world’s uprooted people and “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.”

abrahamAbraham Verghese

MY FAVORITE STANFORD PROFESSOR AND BEST SELLING NOVELIST WITH A FANTASTIC PRESENTATION.
From Frantz Fanon to “Che”: The Physician as Revolutionary
In a famous essay, the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper disparaged the historical tendency of physicians to remain aloof from politics and its concerns. In this presentation, doctor, writer and Stanford University medical professor Abraham Verghese will share stories about some extraordinary exceptions: Frenchman Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, U.S. Founding Father Benjamin Rush, Mexican Mariano Azuela, Frantz Fanon during the Algerian War of Independence, and the Argentine-born Cuban guerilla leader Che Guevara. Verghese will talk about how these famous revolutionaries risked their lives, in part as an extension of their medical consciences and the projection of their profound sense of personal responsibility, to help alleviate human suffering.

Physician-writer ABRAHAM VERGHESE holds the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professorship at Stanford University, where he is vice-chair for the theory and practice of medicine in the department of medicine. He is the author of three books, including his debut novel CUTTING FOR STONE, which spent over two years on The New York Times bestseller list and was named by Amazon one of its “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” Verghese, who has focused much of his career on seeking a more humane approach to practicing medicine, has published two memoirs that draw on his medical experiences, MY OWN COUNTRY and THE TENNIS PARTNER. The former, about treating AIDS patients in rural Tennessee, was a finalist for the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Verghese has published essays and stories in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, and The Atlantic Monthly. In 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2014 received the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities. Verghese is currently at work on his second novel, THE MARAMON CONVENTION, set during the 1940s in India’s Kerala state.