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Novelists, scholars, statesmen to speak in Pittsburgh this fall

AP - Former President Bill Clinton gestures as he speaks at Florida International University, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 in Miami, as he campaigns for President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Former President Bill Clinton gestures as he speaks at Florida International University, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 in Miami, as he campaigns for President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
- David Sedaris Credit: File
David Sedaris Credit: File
- Geraldine Brooks Credit: Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks Credit: Geraldine Brooks

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By William Loeffler
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, 8:55 p.m.
 

With cable, YouTube and Twitter, talk has seldom seemed so cheap.

But the authors, scholars and statesmen who will be speaking in Pittsburgh this fall afford the chance to savor the sort of reasoned, eloquent speech that now seems to belong to another era.

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at Heinz Hall on Oct. 4. The 42nd president appears as part of the Robert Morris University Pittsburgh Speakers Series. Like him or hate him, the guy is guaranteed to have good tales to tell.

The Robert Morris series also includes appearances by Jon M. Huntsman, the former ambassador to China and former presidential candidate, who speaks Nov. 14. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox speaks on March 13, 2013, and Andes plane crash survivor Nando Parrado closes out the series on April 22.

Author, humorist and raconteur David Sedaris appears Oct. 21 at Heinz Hall. Sedaris, the author of the memoir “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” is self-deprecating and laugh-out-loud funny. On Oct. 27, Theresa Caputo, star of the TLC series “Long Island Medium,” will appear at Heinz Hall — presumably, not out of thin air. She will perform live readings for audience members and discuss her career as an alleged conduit to the afterlife.

The Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Series at Carnegie Hall features novelists and non-fiction authors at Carnegie Music Hall as part of Literary Evenings, their Monday Night Lecture Series. The series includes Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer, author and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, and author of “The Oath: The Obama White House vs. The Supreme Court” on Oct. 8. Novelist Jeffrey Eugenides speaks Oct. 22, while columnist and political observer Ellen Goodman discusses the decline of civil discourse on Nov. 5, the night before the presidential election. Rebecca Skloot, former University of Pittsburgh faculty member and author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” speaks on Feb. 4, 2013, and Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks (“March,” “People of the Book”) closes the series on April 8.

Carnegie Mellon University has teamed up with the Senator John Heinz History Center for its 2012-13 Speakers Series. The series is presented by the University's Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE), which is part of the Department of History. This year's theme relates to the History Center's upcoming exhibit, “Slavery to Freedom.” The lectures include“The Underground Railroad and the Anti-Slavery Movement in Global Perspective,” on Oct. 26. It features Richard Blackett, the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. Nico Slate, assistant professor of history at Carnegie Mellon, will speak Nov. 16 on “Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India.” The lectures are free and open to the public.

William Loeffler is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wloeffler@tribweb.com or 412-320-7986.

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