Isabel Wilkerson, Ayad Akthar, Billy Collins, Curtis Sittenfeld to headline virtual Aspen Winter Words lineup |

Isabel Wilkerson, Ayad Akthar, Billy Collins, Curtis Sittenfeld to headline virtual Aspen Winter Words lineup

Staff report

The lineup for the 24th annual Aspen Winter Words author series will include Pulitzer Prize winners Isabel Wilkerson and Ayad Akhtar along with returning Aspen favorites Billy Collins and Curtis Sittenfeld among others.

Aspen Words announced details of four Winter Words events Monday. The series, moving to a virtual format due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will include six total author talks running from November 2020 to April 2021. Additionally, Aspen Words is expected to host virtual book club events this season.

“From nonfiction that examines some of America’s most urgent social issues to fiction that reimagines the life of a famous U.S. politician to poetry that contemplates the wonders of being alive, this season promises to inspire readers and provide new insights into our time,” said Aspen Words executive director Adrienne Brodeur.

The opening event Nov. 17 will feature “Caste” author Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, in conversation with poet and memoirist Elizabeth Alexander.

On Dec. 15, novelist Curtis Sittenfeld will discuss her latest, “Rodham,” with activist and write Charlette Clymer.

The Jan. 13 event features “Homeland Elegies” author and Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar interviewed by Washington Post book critic Ron Charles.

On April 13, the former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will be in conversation with poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Featured writers for the February and March events will be released at a later date.

Aspen Words is reducing its traditional pricing for this Zoom-based series. Tickets have been $25 in recent years, but “in the spirit of supporting literary community during challenging times,” it will be $10 per event this season. A new a Series Supporter pass for $275 offers full access to the entire season along with three books from the Winter Words lineup. Tickets and more info at

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