Presented by Maryville University
and Left Bank Books

Maryville Talks Books features lectures by noted authors. Admission is  free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. Seating is open on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Ashlee Brockenbrough; 314.529.9349.


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courtesy of Left Bank Books




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Great Leader and the Fighter PilotBlaine Harden
Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom

Tuesday, March 31
7 p.m.
Maryville University Auditorium
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


Blaine Harden, the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, returns this spring with Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom.  This important new book explains how North Korea came to be the totalitarian state it is today, told through parallel stories of the rise of Kim Il Sung and the brave North Korean fighter pilot who escaped and delivered the first MiG-15 into American hands.

DeadWaketoChris.inddErik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Thursday, April 9
7 p.m.
Ethical Society of St. Louis
Ticketed event:
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds. With his remarkable new work of nonfiction, Dead Wake (on sale March 10), he ushers us aboard the Lusitania as it begins its tragic and final crossing. It is a timely trip, as 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

“I first started reading about the Lusitania on a whim,” Larson writes. “What I learned both charmed and horrified me. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the incident, but quickly realized how wrong I was. Above all, I discovered that buried in the muddled details of the affair—deliberately muddled, in certain aspects—was a very good story.”

Dead Wake switches between hunter and hunted, allowing readers to experience the crossing, and the disaster itself, in real time. Along the way, Larson paints a portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era, and brings to life a rich cast of characters, including President Woodrow Wilson, awash in grief after the loss of his wife, awakening with the blush of new love; famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, a passenger carrying an irreplaceable literary treasure; Captain William Thomas Turner, who took the safety of his  passengers very seriously, but secretly thought of them as “bloody monkeys;” and Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, whose ultra-secret spy group failed to convey crucial naval intelligence that might have saved the Lusitania and its passengers.

NationalInsecurity.smallDavid Rothkopf
National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear

Tuesday, May 5
7 p.m.
Maryville University Auditorium


Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing

Buffeted by challenges from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the financial crisis, from Washington dysfunction to the rise of China and the dawn of the era of cyber warfare, two very different presidents and their advisors have struggled to cope with a relentless array of new threats. In National Insecurity, David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of the FP Group, publisher of Foreign Policy, interviewed the key players who shaped the critical policies of the Bush and Obama years.

In The Unlikely Event.webJudy Blume
In the Unlikely Event

Friday, June 19
7 p.m.
Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, Chaminade College Preparatory Academy
Ticketed event:
One $31 ticket gets you in the event and a copy of the book. One $36 ticket gets you two tickets to the event, one book and a $5 rebate toward the purchase of a second book.


Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, within a three-month period in 1951-1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. We see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between. In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of readers of all generations.

2013-2014 Author Visits


Julian E. Zelizer 2.24.15
Andy Cohen 11.25.14
Patricia Cornwell * 11.15.14
Reza Aslan * 9.18.14
Piper Kerman * 9.10.14
Mark Epstein, MD * 8.4.14
Jean Kwok * 6.27.14
Garrison Keillor 6.15.14
Daniel James Brown * 5.28.14
Austin Kleon * 4.24.14
Ishmael Beah 3.6.14
Dave Barry * 3.18.14
Lacks Family (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot) 11.23.13
Ann Patchett 11.14.13
Jared Diamond * 11.12.13
Sue Grafton * 9.18.13

2012-2013 Author Visits

Khaled Hosseini * 5.30.13
Michael Pollan * 5.9.13
Elizabeth Strout * 4.12.13
Daniel H. Pink * 3.6.13
Lisa Gardner * 2.10.13
David Von Drehle * 1.18.13
Jon Meacham * 12.5.12
Mark Bowden * 11.12.12
Chitra Divakaruni * 11.1.12
William H. Chafe 10.17.12
Eric Greitens * 10.16.12
Bill Donius * 9.12.12
Buzz Bissinger * 6.11.12
Douglas Brinkley 6.4.12

2011-2012 Author Visits

Frank Deford * 5.30.12
Senator Bill Bradley * 5.11.12
Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams 5.10.12
Alexander McCall Smith * 4.16.12
Lisa See * 3.12.12
Luis Urrea
* 1.17.12
Howard Markel * 11.18.11
Charlene Bry 10.18.11
Stacy Schiff * 9.16.11
Daniel H. Wilson * 6.13.11

2010-2011 Author Visits

Justin Cronin * 5.31.11
Sister Madonna Buder, ’52 * 5.26.11
Helen Simonson * 4.14.11
Wes Moore * 2.17.11
Michele Norris 11.17.10
Ron Chernow 10.28.10
Steven Johnson 10.15.10
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri 6.14.10

2009-2010 Author Visits

Anna Quindlen 5.6.10
Daniel Pink * 1.21.10
John Grogan 10.22.09
Ken Robinson 1.15.09

* Videos of these authors can be seen in the Emmy-nominated and award-winning HEC-TV series, Maryville Talks Books: One on One.

Maryville Talks Books is also available on iTunes.

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