In times of crisis, societies look to their storytellers to understand and process the challenges and to peek around corners to see pathways that purely rational analyses simply can’t fathom. Today, best-sellers in fiction and memoir are setting real-world information about the climate crisis, social justice movements, and migration realities within their narratives. Audiences are ready for these stories, but what about artists? Does the moment dictate the art? In our ancestral past it was the myth-makers who guided their communities through crisis. Do modern day writers think about their obligations on the entertainment-awareness spectrum? How do storytellers move in or move out of our current moment? Join a conversation with leading writers about their creative process, how they consider the bigger local and global conversations as they craft their work, and the relationship between fictional narratives and real world movements for change. Hosted by Laleh Khadivi, Iranian-born writer and filmmaker. With: Keenan Norris, novelist, essayist and scholar; Andri Snær Magnason, renowned Icelandic novelist, poet, filmmaker and environmental activist.
April 8th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm
Writer and Filmmaker
Laleh Khadivi, born in Esfahan, Iran, is a writer of fiction and nonfiction as well as (since 1999) a director, producer and cinematographer of documentary films. Her debut novel, The Age of Orphans, received multiple prestigious awards, and her documentary film, 900 WOMEN, aired on A&E and premiered at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published widely, including in The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, VQR and The Sun. She was also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a Pushcart Prize for her story, Wanderlust.
Writer and Filmmaker
Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer and documentary fllmmaker. His latest book, On Time and Water, is a search for a new language to explain the climate crisis through science, family stories and mythology. His work ranges from poetry to non-fiction, children's literature, science fiction, theater and documentary film. Andri has won some international awards, the Tiziano Terzani Award in Italy, the Philip K. Dick honorary mention in USA for LoveStar and the Icelandic literary Award in all categories. He ran for president of Iceland in 2016 with environmental issues on the agenda and came in third.
Novelist, Essayist and Scholar
Keenan Norris, an Associate Professor at San Jose State University, is a novelist and essayist whose latest novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane, won the 2022 Northern California Book Award. His essays have garnered a 2021-22 National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award and 2021 Folio: Eddie Award, while his debut novel, Brother and the Dancer, won the 2012 James D. Houston Award. His most recent work is a "biblio-memoir," Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings.