April 3rd, 2015
Daniel Levitin: This is Your Brain on Music
Dr. Daniel J. Levitin is a neuroscientist, musician and bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music, and most recently, The Organized Mind.
He has spent a lifetime exploring how the brain works, and in
particular, the brains of highly successful people and accomplished
February 23rd, 2015
From an “imaginatively twisted and fearless” writer (Los Angeles Times), comes a hilarious memoir of middle age. Madwoman in the Volvo
is a wry and witty tale of “the change.” Please join us as author and
entertainer Sandra Tsing Loh talks about her new work and assures us
all that it does get better.
June 25th, 2014
Lynn Ingram: The West Without Water
Professor Lynn Ingram
The West Without Water
Perhaps none of us can imagine the West without water, but Gov. Jerry
Brown declared that our state is in a drought emergency and the issue
is becoming hard to ignore. To address this critical issue, we invited
Professor Lynn Ingram of UC Berkeley to speak about her book The West
Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and other Climactic Clues
Tell Us About Tomorrow. Dr. Ingram will be joined by Tim Bradley,
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine.
About Dr. Lynn Ingram
Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley, Dr. Ingram
earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University. An expert on paleoclimatology,
Ingram oversees the Laboratory for Environmental and Sedimentary Isotope
Geochemistry (LESIG) at UC Berkeley. “The goal of my research is to
assess how climates and environments have changed over the past several
thousand years. These environments include estuaries, lakes, coasts, and
coral reefs.” Dr. Ingram studies the history of climate change in
California using sediment cores from lakes and estuaries, including San
Francisco Bay. Dr. Ingram is a Fellow of the California Academy of
Science, and is a Senior Fulbright recipient. She is the author of more
than sixty published scientific articles on past climate change in
California, the West, and other regions across the Pacific.
About Dr. Tim Bradley
Dr. Tim Bradley is the Director of the Salton Sea Initiative and a
professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the
School of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine.
June 25th, 2014
Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Project
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a
brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s
time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which
Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his
perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter
out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her
as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent
for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify
her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they
collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the
spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite
your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
About the author
Graeme Simsion worked as a computer operator, programmer and database
specialist before founding a consulting business in 1982. By the time
he sold Simsion Bowles & Associates in 1999, it had grown to some
seventy staff in three cities. Graeme had built an international
reputation in data management and written the standard text on data
modeling. Until the success of The Rosie Project enabled him to
concentrate on his writing, he continued to deliver seminars around the
Graeme is a founder of Pinot Now, a wine importer and distributor and
Roy’s Antiques in Melbourne. He recently resigned from his position as a
Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University. He is married to Anne, a
professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two
In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled
in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute
of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project,
won the Australian Writers Guild / Inscription Award for Best Romantic
Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be
produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian
Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.
Readers of The Rosie Project will know that Graeme Simsion
has a first-class sense of humour. At professional conferences he has
given addresses from on top of a ladder, dressed as a duck, and he once
engaged a group of spellbound chartered accountants in community
singing. Graeme Simsion won second prize in the 2013 Age short-story
award for his account of a runner’s shattering experience in a marathon.
March 31st, 2014
Frank Bruni, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times since 2011, joined the newspaper in 1995. During his years at The Times, he has worn a wide variety of hats, including chief restaurant critic (2004–2009) and Rome bureau chief (2002–2004).
He has also written two New York Times best sellers: a memoir, Born Round, and Ambling into History, a chronicle of George W. Bush’s campaign for the presidency. That same year, Harper Perennial reissued, in paperback, A Gospel of Shame: Children, Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church, of which he was a co-author.
Bruni’s restaurant-related articles for The New York Times
and elsewhere have appeared in five consecutive editions of Best Food
Writing in America. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature
writing for his work at the Detroit Free Press.
Bruni will speak about current issues making the headlines.
March 31st, 2014
Mona Simpson: Casebook
Mona Simpson will talk about her new novel Casebook to be released in April 2014 (Knopf).
Publishers’ Weekly says, "this is a story about a son’s love
for his mother, and Simpson’s portrayal of utter loyalty is
infectious." From the acclaimed and award-winning author: a beguiling
new novel about an eavesdropping boy working to discover the obscure
mysteries of his unraveling family. He uncovers instead what he least
wants to know: the workings of his parents' private lives. And even then
he can't stop snooping.
Mona Simpson's novels include My Hollywood, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, The Lost Father and Anywhere But Here.
Her books have won the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize, the Whiting
Writer's Award and placed as finalist for the PEN/FAULKNER award. She
has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National
Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton
University and a Lila Wallace Prize. Most recently, she was the
recipient of a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and
letters. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, Harpers, The Atlantic, McSweeney's and The Paris Review. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, she lives in Santa Monica, California. Her new novel, Casebook, is on sale from Knopf in April.
November 14th, 2013
Peggy Hesketh in conversation with Gordon McAlpine
Peggy Hesketh: Telling the Bees
Peggy Hesketh's short story "A Madness of Two" was selected by Elizabeth George for inclusion in her anthology Two of the Deadliest. A long-time journalist, Peggy teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of California, Irvine. Telling the Bees is her first novel. Spanning the arc of the twentieth century, set in the transforming landscape of Southern California, Telling the Bees is a beautifully imagined novel about the far-reaching consequences of words left unspoken, the persistence of regret, and the power of truth both to wound and to heal.
Ms. Hesketh will be interviewed by author Gordon McAlpine, whose most recent novel Hammett Unwritten is receiving high marks here and abroad.
September 21st, 2013
Jonathan Kirsch: The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan
Jonathan Kirsch will speak about his latest book, The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan.
The New Yorker (Aug 5, 2013 issue) noted Kirsch’s new
biography about Grynszpan, a 17 year old Jewish refugee in Paris who
shot and killed a German diplomat in 1938. Goebbels cited the shooting
as a justification for Kristallnacht (a series of coordinated attacks
on Jews in Nazi Germany known as the Night of Broken Glass).
Jonathan Kirsch is the author of thirteen books, including eight
books of history and biography, and two novels – all spending time on
the bestseller lists. He has contributed book reviews to the Los Angeles Times for more than 40 years and is a guest commentator on NPR affiliates KCRW and KPCC.
June 30th, 2013
Lauren Weisberger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada, which was published in forty languages and made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. Weisberger’s three other novels, Everyone Worth Knowing, Last Night at Chateau Marmont, and Chasing Harry Winston were all New York Times bestsellers. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives in New York City with her husband and two children. www.LaurenWeisberger.com
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett is host of Writers on Writing on KUCI-FM and author of Pen on Fire. She hosts the Pen on Fire Speaker Series in Corona del Mar. www.penonfire.com
May 14th, 2013
Barry Ritholtz is an American author, newspaper columnist, blogger, equities analyst, CEO of Fusion IQ and guest commentator on Bloomberg Television. He is also a former contributor to CNBC and TheStreet.com. He is one of the few strategists who saw the housing implosion and derivatives disaster far in advance. Ritholtz is the author of Bailout Nation.