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The 24th season of The Witte Lectures


Newport Beach Public Library Foundation's 24th season of The Witte Lectures for Winter/Spring 2021 is presented online via Zoom with distinguished speakers P.J. O’Rourke, Sam Quinones, and Shahzia Sikander. Tickets on sale now at 

According to Janet Hadley, Witte Committee Chair and NBPLF Board Member, “Even in the face of a pandemic, the Witte Lecture series remains steadfast in providing timely, relevant, and vibrant contemporary speakers. Be inspired by the artistry of cooking with Samin Nosrat, political developments of historic magnitude with P.J. O’Rourke, the societal price of addiction with Sam Quinones, and the power of art which can cross-cultural divides with Shahzia Sikander. We offer you a seat at our virtual round table in the comfort of your own home as we present engaging topics during serious times.”


P.J. O’Rourke  -- A Time to Laugh!…….A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land
Friday, February 19, 6:19 p.m.    

Leading political satirist, best-selling author, and op-ed contributor to The Washington Post, P.J. O’Rourke, covers current events, combining the skill of an investigative reporter with a comedian’s sense of the absurd. Known as a hard-bitten, cigar-smoking conservative, he unabashedly bashes all political persuasions. Whether dealing with the inner workings of Washington or shifting political and economic sands of the new world disorder, O’Rourke proves to be a savvy guide to national and global affairs. His razor-sharp insights never fail to inform and entertain. With more than 1 million words of trenchant journalism under his byline and more citations in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O’Rourke has established himself as America’s premier political satirist. He has authored 20 books, including his latest, A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land (2020).

Sam Quinones -- Dreamland - Opioids in America: Past, Present, and Future
Friday, March 12, 6:19 p.m.

Sam Quinones’ book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (2015) won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was on a dozen Best Book of the Year lists. Why? The book struck a common chord. Quinones is a masterful storyteller and sought-after speaker who shares how the silent tragedy has impacted communities and families coast to coast. And what a tale . . . Dreamland is riveting. Quinones recounts how a pharmaceutical corporation promoted its legal opiate prescription painkiller as non-addictive and the rise of international drug trafficking. The collision of these two forces has led America into the deadliest drug scourge in modern times. Dreamland has also been adapted for a young adult audience, grades 8-12.

*Tickets purchased last spring for this event will be honored.

Shahzia Sikander  -- Beauty, Power, and Extraordinary Realities
Friday, April 16, 6:19 p.m.

Pioneering Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander is one of the most influential artists working today. She is celebrated for her figurative painting, sculptures and installations inspired by traditional Persian miniatures. Sikander will discuss her latest artwork, exhibitions, and forthcoming book Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities (2021, Hirmer Publishers). We will learn how she expands and subverts traditional themes to explore cultural identity, gender, and other under-represented narratives. Sikander received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and was awarded the State Department Medal of Arts in 2012. Her work has been exhibited around the world including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Sydney; Irish Modern Museum of Art, Dublin; and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. Sikander will be in conversation with Meg Linton, Chief Executive Officer, Newport Beach Public Library Foundation.

Friday, doors to our virtual auditorium open at 6:p.m. and the program begins at 6:19 p.m. Virtual Presentation followed by Q&A on Zoom
Tickets on Sale Now at  
General $35 per household // NBPLF Members receive 25% Discount  

The opportunity to buy a signed copy of the presenters’ publications is made possible by Laguna Beach Books
Contact to buy a copy
QUESTIONS - Contact Director of Programs Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw (New email) or 949-717-3818.

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