Winter Words opens Monday night with author Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe will appear at Winter Words on January 9th to discuss latest book "Rogues".
Photo Credit /Philip Montgomery

Best-selling author and New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a first-time visitor to Aspen, will kick off Winter Words’ 26th year Monday.

Keefe will will discuss his latest book, Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, a collection of a dozen of his most celebrated articles from The New Yorker, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Paepcke Auditorium with Mitzi Rapkin, the host and producer of the literary podcast, First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing.

“Patrick Radden Keefe is simply one of the most dynamic storytellers and narrative nonfiction writers working today,” said Adrienne Brodeur, executive director of Aspen Words. “All his books are engrossing, and Rogues is no exception. Every single essay is a gem.”

Keefe began contributing to The New Yorker in 2006 and received the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing in 2014.

He’s the author of New York Times’ bestsellers Empire of Pain and Say Nothing.

Say Nothing received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, as well as the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade.

Empire of Pain was awarded the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction and a finalist for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year.  

He is also the writer and host of Wind of Change, an eight-part podcast series that investigates the strange convergence of espionage and heavy metal music during the Cold War and was named the No. 1 podcast of 2020 by The Guardian.  

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe explores, con men, killers and other outliers.

Rogues is an exploration of the intricacies of con men, killers and other outliers in society. In this collection of essays, Keefe explores a variety of subjects from the intricacies of forging $150,000 vintage wines and a whistleblower who exposed money laundering at a Swiss bank to the quest to bring down an international black-market arms merchant. 

He also delves into pop culture by documenting the time he spent with Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam and investigates how Mark Burnett resurrected Donald Trump’s image and “paved his way to the presidency.”

“Like a lot of readers, I’m fascinated by the puzzle of human psychology: What makes people behave badly, how and why they get away with it,” Keefe said. “Whether I’m writing about a con man or a murderer or a white-collar criminal, I’m always intrigued by the stories people tell themselves and others to justify the terrible things they do. It makes for rich material.”

Keefe’s event is the first of five presented by Aspen Words in this Winter Words series, which includes appearances by authors Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score), Kwame Alexander (The Door of No Return), Imbolo Mbue (How Beautiful We Were), and Geraldine Brooks (Horse) from Jan. 9 through March 21.

Brodeur explained the thought process behind choosing this year’s authors: “Our team thinks about the Winter Words lineup all year long by tracking books we’ve read and loved, keeping an eye out on forthcoming titles that are getting buzz, and listening to what book lovers in our community recommend. Our goal each year is to create a richly varied series featuring diverse books and authors that will inspire, delight, and broaden reader’s perspectives.”

If you go..

What: Winter Words with Patrick Radden Keefe
When: Monday, Jan. 9, 6-7 p.m.
Where: Paepcke Auditorium  and livestreamed
More Info and Tickets: