The Columbia Public Writing Series launched this fall, hosting distinguished writers to discuss the craft and strategy of writing to change minds and leave a lasting impact on the world. In the first three sessions, renowned writers Eric Hayot, Emily Bazelon, and Jelani Cobb joined academic leaders from across the university in spirited conversation to examine the art of writing for public audiences. Don't miss the final two events in the series, featuring Paul Sabin and Viet Thanh Nguyen.
On December 8, Yale historian Paul Sabin will discuss the art and process behind persuasive critical writing for a wide public audience. Keying off his guest essay in the New York Times, “How Liberals Can Attack From the Left—and Win," Sabin will reflect on how he drew lessons from history relevant to current debates over infrastructure and the environment, and on the steps necessary to translate a book into a 1,000-word essay. Sabin also will consider the challenge for scholarly writers of navigating our fraught partisan times, including telling stories that don’t fit easily into prevailing narratives. How does a writer offer constructive criticism without getting pulled into the service of hostile ideological agendas? How does a writer craft distinct messages for quite different audiences at the same time? RSVP for Writing Friendly Criticism in a Partisan Age.
Scholarship and personal experience can be powerful tools to guide sound policy during emergency events, particularly when history seems bound to repeat itself. Viet Thanh Nguyen, novelist and USC Professor of English and American Studies and Comparative Literature, will discuss his New York Times op-ed, “I Can’t Forget the Lessons of Vietnam. Neither Should You.” with Columbia English and Comparative Literature faculty members Denise Cruz and Sue Mendelsohn. RSVP for the final event in the series on December 13.
All members of the Columbia community are welcome to attend and engage with the reading materials in advance of the events.