Four writers, including Celeste Ng and Dani Shapiro, coming for Talking Volumes

Four renowned writers will come to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater this fall for the 23rd season of Talking Volumes, the lecture series hosted by the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio.

The season opens Sept. 14 with religion writer Karen Armstrong making her third appearance at Talking Volumes in 10 years. She will be followed by novelist Celeste Ng, novelist/memoirist Dani Shapiro and poet Ross Gay.

Here’s the full lineup:

Karen Armstrong, 7 p.m. Sept. 14: Armstrong is returning for his third Talking Volumes appearance. She is the author of many books on religion and faith, including “The Case for God, “A History of God” and “The Great Transformation.” Her latest book, “Sacred Nature,” about nature’s connection to religion, will be published in September by Alfred A. Knopf.

Armstrong’s work has been translated into 45 languages. She was awarded the TED Prize in 2008 and is an ambassador for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization. Armstrong lives in London.

Celeste Ng, 7 pm Oct. 26: The author of the New York Times bestselling “Little Fires Everywhere,” which became a Hulu TV series, returns with a new novel, “Our Missing Hearts,” to be published in October. Ng’s work has been published in more than 30 languages. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Her new novel is about a 12-year-old boy who lives in an America governed by fear and controlled by laws that were written to preserve “American culture.” The boy’s mother, a Chinese American poet, has disappeared, and her books are being removed from libraries as being “unpatriotic,” as the boy sets out on a quest to find her.

Dani Shapiro, 7 pm Oct. 28: Memoirist and novelist Dani Shapiro also hosts the podcast “Family Secrets.” Co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference, she has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker and many other venues. In her 2019 memoir “Inheritance,” Shapiro confronts the truth about her lineage — a DNA test reveals that the man who raised her was not her biological father.

In her new novel, “Signal Fires,” to be published in October, Shapiro examines how one bad decision can affect a whole life. On a summer night in 1985, a car crash ends the life of a teenage girl and forever changes the lives of the car’s driver and his sister.

Ross Gay, 7 pm Nov. 2: Poet Ross Gay will publish his fifth collection, “Inciting Joy,” in October. He is also the author of the bestselling “The Book of Delights: Essays,” a collection of short essays he wrote once a day for a year. He has won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN America Jean Stein Book Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is a Guggenheim fellow and a founding member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit food justice organization. He teaches at Indiana University.

His new book considers the joy that we feel when we care for each other, especially during hard times.

Talking Volumes tickets will go on sale at noon on July 18. They are $30 for the general public and $28 for MPR members and Star Tribune subscribers and are available at mprevents.org or in person at First Avenue ticket outlets.

Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books. @stribbooks

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