Jan 12: Juan Felipe Herrera
Jan 27: Alison Bechdel + Beth Malone 
Feb 13: Adam Johnson
Mar 15Geraldine Brooks + Tony Horwitz
Apr 5: Sandra Cisneros

All events take place at Paepcke Auditorium located on the campus of the Aspen Institute. Author events start at 6pm, doors at 5:30pm. A signing will follow each discussion and Explore Booksellers will have books for purchase. 

Thank you to our audience members, sponsors, visiting authors, local schools, and Aspen Words supporters for making the Winter Words 2016 season a success!


Blog posts

Information for the 2017 Winter Words season will be available in the fall of 2016.
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Juan Felipe Herrera – January 12

Current U.S. Poet Laureate // National Book Critics Circle Award Winner // Mexican American Performer & Activist 

Herrera-combo graphic copyJuan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

“This new collection is generous, unexpected, playful and pointed, reminding us of our shared humanity.” —David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

“Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed.” —Stephen Burt, Poetry Critic

Alison Bechdel + Beth Malone – January 27

Alison Bechdel
Best Book of the Year, Time Magazine // National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist // MacArthur Fellow (2014)

U.S. cartoonist Alison Bechdel portrayed as she works in her studio at the castle of Civitella Ranieri, central Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.Cartoonist Alison Bechdel is the creator of the long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For. She has published two graphic memoirs. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is about her childhood in an artistic family and her relationship with her father, and has been developed into a Broadway musical starring Beth Malone. Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama explores her relationship with her mother through the lens of psychoanalytic theory. She is the recipient of a 2014 MacArthur fellowship.

Fun Home must be the most ingeniously compact, hyper-verbose example of autobiography to have been produced … a pioneering work.” –Sean Wilsey, New York Times Book Review

“Graphic storytelling at its most profound.”–Los Angeles Times (Favorite Book of 2006)
In conversation with Tony-nominated Fun Home star Beth Malone

beth malone 658 cropped

Beth Malone starred in the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Malone spent much of her 20’s in Aspen, where she was a Crystal Palace dinner theater staffer and performed at Theatre Aspen. After leaving Aspen, she completed a graduate degree with the drama department at UC Irvine and settled in Los Angeles. Malone spent much of 2014 at The Denver Center, starring as Molly Brown in the world premiere of a wholly reimagined version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Other original Broadway and Off Broadway credits include June Carter Cash in Ring of Fire, Betty Jean in The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Alison in Bingo!. Regional theatre appearances include 9 to 5The Break Up NotebookAnnie Get Your Gun, Les Miserables, and the world premiere of Sister Act. Malone has been part of Fun Home through most of its formative stages and was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Alison Bechdel.

 Adam Johnson – February 13

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction // National Book Award Winner // Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winner

Johnson-combo graphic copy copy

Adam Johnson is the author of the novel The Orphan Master’s Son, and most recently, a collection of short stories titled Fortune Smiles, winner of the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction. The Orphan Master’s Son won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the California Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications and spent almost a year on the New York Times Bestseller List. Johnson’s other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship; he was also a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. His previous books are Emporium, a short story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us.

“[Johnson] is always perceptive and brave; his lines always sing and strut and sizzle and hush and wash and blaze over the reader.”—New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

“Johnson packs more voice in his stories than most authors do in a novel.”—Esquire

Geraldine Brooks + Tony Horowitz – March 15

Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction // Four New York Times bestselling novels // Overseas Press Club Award Winner

Brooks-combo graphic-1Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novelist. Her most recent book, The Secret Chord, is based on the life of King David, and was published to great critical acclaim in October 2015. Brooks’ first novel, Year of Wonders was an international bestseller and was translated into more than 25 languages. It is in development to become a film starring Andrew Lincoln. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2006 for March, which examines Little Women from a different point of view. Her other novels, Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book were New York Times bestsellers, and she is the author of three nonfiction works: Nine Parts of Desire, Foreign Correspondence, and The Idea of Home. Earlier in her writing career, Brooks covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for the Wall Street Journal. In 1990, with her husband Tony Horwitz, she won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War.  

“one of our most supple and insightful novelists.” —Jane Smiley, New York Times Book Review

“There’s a romance between Brooks and the world, and her writing is as full of heart and curiosity as it is intelligence and judgment.”—Boston Globe

Tony Horwitz
Pulitzer Prize Winner for National Reporting // Five national bestsellers // New York Times Notable Book Awardee

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Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of several bestsellers. He worked for many years as a newspaper reporter, covering wars and conflicts overseas as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. After returning to the U.S., he won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his stories about working conditions in low-wage America. His books include the national and New York Times bestsellers, Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, Baghdad Without a Map, and A Voyage Long and Strange. His latest book, Midnight Rising, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2011; one of the year’s ten best books by Library Journal; and won the 2012 William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. In 1990, with his wife Geraldine Brooks, he won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War. Horwitz has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a visiting scholar at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

“[Midnight Rising is] page-turning and heartbreaking—a book to engage mind and soul.” —Boston Globe

 “Lucid and compelling…The author’s archival sleuthing pays off with a rich narrative.” —Kirkus Reviews

Sandra Cisneros – April 5

Bestselling + Pioneering Latina Author // MacArthur Fellow (1995) // American Book Award Winner

Cisneros - (c) Alan Goldfarb

Sandra Cisneros’ works include two highly acclaimed novels, a short story collection, two poetry collections, and an adult picture book. The first female Mexican-American writer to be published by a mainstream publisher, Cisneros’ debut novel The House on Mango Street won the American Book Award, has sold more than six million copies, and is considered a literary classic. Her most recent book is A House of My Own—a richly illustrated compilation of true stories that span three decades of her life. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Lannan Literary Award, the Thomas Wolfe Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral and Macondo Foundations, which serve creative writers. She lives in Mexico.

“not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one.” —New York Times Book Review

“The author of The House on Mango Street has written what may well be the best memoir of the year.” —Pam Kinsburgy, Library Journal