Previous Speakers

lisa scottoline
2014

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of more than twenty novels published in more than thirty-five countries.

Her weekly columns have been collected in four books including Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog.

Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of American and has taught a course she developed titled "Justice and Fiction" at The University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater.
stewart onan
2015

Stewart O'Nan was born at St. Margaret's and raised in Point Breeze, where he delivered both the Press and Post-Gazette. He attended Linden School and Taylor Allderdice High School. Since returning to Pittsburgh he's read his work at Pitt, CMU, Duquesne, Chatham, Carlow, and Point Park University. A Pirates season ticket holder since the bad old days, he lives in Regent Square.

O'Nan's award-winning fiction includes Snow Angels, A Prayer for the Dying, Last Night at the Lobster,  and Emily, Alone. Granta named him one of America's Best Young Novelists.
McCallSmith
2016

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.

McCall Smith has written and contributed to more than 100 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books. He is best known for his internationally acclaimed and bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which currently has 16 volumes. The series has now been translated into 45 languages and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

Joyce Carol Oates

Lisa See credit Patricia Williams

2017

Joyce Carol Oates has penned bestselling novels, critically acclaimed collections of short fiction, as well as essays, plays, poetry, two memoirs, and an unlikely bestseller, On Boxing. Her remarkable literary industry - which includes work as an editor and anthologist - spans forms, themes, topics and genres. Writing in The Nation, critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. said, "A future archeologist equipped only with her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America." In 2010, reflecting the widespread esteem in which her work is held, President Barack Obama awarded Oates the National Humanities Medal. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and since 1978, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

2018

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, and China Dolls. Her most recent novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, was released in March 2017. Ms. See has also written a mystery series that takes place in China, as well as On Gold Mountain, which is about her Chinese-American family. Her books have been published in 39 languages. Ms. See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001, was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003, and received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in 2017.