Previous Special Events

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter discusses his new book The Promise: President Obama, Year One on Wednesday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

The Promise is the first detailed examination of President Barack Obama’s first year in office and offers an insider’s look at Obama’s decisions and accomplishments.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Author Ben Wildavsky discusses his new book The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World on Tuesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

The Great Brain Race examines the growing international competition for the world’s brightest minds a trend Wildavsky contends should be welcomed, not feared.

Friday, May 28, 2010
9:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The chamber music ensemble Summerfest celebrates its 20th season with the world premiere of a composition by Ian Coleman, in keeping with its concert-season theme "Voices from the Land: Reflections on Identity."

Coleman's compositions—including a setting of the Langston Hughes poem "Dreams"—have been featured globally in prominent concerts. He is a professor of music theory and composition at William Jewell College. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Veteran journalist James McCommons discusses his new book that is equal parts travel narrative, personal memoir, and investigative journalism.

McCommons explores how the country may move passenger rail forward in America—and what role government should play in creating and funding mass-transportation systems. Against the backdrop of the nation’s stimulus program, he explores what it will take to build high-speed trains and transportation networks, and when the promise of rail will be realized in America.

The book will be available for sale.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Shirley Christian presents an original talk on Carrie Westlake Whitney, librarian and director of the Kansas City Public Library from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Henry Adams unfolds a poignant personal drama that provides new insights into two of the greatest artists of the 20th century when he presents his book, Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock.

Friday, May 21, 2010
10:45pm @ Central Library

Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert curates the annual Off-the-Wall Film Series for EbertfestKC, showing films or formats he believes deserve wider attention.

Thursday, May 20, 2010
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Best-selling Life of Pi author, Yann Martel, discusses his latest novel, Beatrice and Virgil, on Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Beatrice and Virgil is about asuccessful writer named Henry who becomes discouraged when his book about the Holocaust, a "flip book" made up of a novel and an essay that can be read in any order, is rejected by publishers.

Monday, May 17, 2010
8:30pm @ Plaza Branch

National Book Award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick discusses The Last Stand, his new book about the Battle of Little Bighorn.

In his narrative, Philbrick sketches the two antagonists, Sitting Bull and George Armstrong Custer, and reminds readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations. Philbrick evokes the history and geography of the Great Plains with an archetypal story of the American West, which continues to haunt imaginations.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kenneth H. Winn tells the seldom-heard story of Indian agent George Sibley and Ellen Lorr, whose failure to marry touched off a legal and political battle in early 1800s Missouri, on Sunday, May 16, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.