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Authors and Poets

Academy of Achievement

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Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Authors and Poets

Academy of Achievement

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For 50 years, the Academy of Achievement has invited the world's pre-eminent authors to address its annual Summit. Novelists and playwrights, journalists and historians, critics and humorists, poets and songwriters, essayists and philosophers, all have shared their wisdom with the Academy's honorees and student delegates. Now you can see and hear these presentations, recorded live at the International Achievement Summit. In poetry and prose, these men and women explore the world of nature and the drama of the human condition. Some are creators of fantasy, others are chroniclers of fact; some evoke the nuances of personal experience, others explain the mysteries of the cosmos. Hear their personal accounts of the passions that first inspired them, and the dedication that sustained them as they patiently mastered their art.

Latest Episodes

David Herbert Donald

The Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University, David Herbert Donald (1920-2009) also taught at Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Oxford and Columbia. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, in 1961 for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and again in 1988 for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe, a study of the great American novelist of the 1930s. Professor Donald is best known for his works dealing with the era of the Civil War, especially the monumental Lincoln (1996), the first biography of Lincoln to draw on the complete collection of Lincoln's personal, presidential and legal papers. The enthralling biography remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for 14 weeks. He continued his examination of Lincoln's life and character with We Are Lincoln Men, a study of the 16th President as seen through the eyes of his closest friends. Speaking at the International Achievement Summit on the eve of the 2000 United States presidential elec...

9 MIN2000 OCT 28
Comments
David Herbert Donald

Stephen Ambrose

Although the historian Stephen Ambrose (1936 - 2002) wrote over 30 books, he was almost as well-known to the public for his appearances on television's political discussion programs, where he was frequently called upon to discuss the American presidency, the history of the American West and the legacy of the Second World War. As a boy growing up in Wisconsin, Stephen Ambrose planned to follow in his father's footsteps as a small-town doctor; he entered the University of Wisconsin as a pre-med student, but his first day in American History class changed his life. He changed his major to history and never looked back. His first book sold fewer than a thousand copies, but it caught the eye of former President Dwight Eisenhower, who invited Ambrose to write an authorized biography. Ambrose's multi-volume lives of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, along with works on the opening of the American West, and on the experience of common soldiers in World War II, made him one of America's most ...

12 MIN1998 MAY 23
Comments
Stephen Ambrose

Amy Tan (1998 Symposium)

In 1988, Amy Tan was earning an excellent living writing speeches for business executives. She worked around the clock to meet the demands from her many high-priced clients, but she took no joy in the work, and felt frustrated and unfulfilled. In her mid-thirties, she took up writing fiction. A year later her first book, a collection of interrelated stories called The Joy Luck Club was an international best-seller, and Amy Tan's life was changed forever. Only 20 years ago, a list of well-known American authors would have included virtually no Asian-Americans. Today Amy Tan is one of America's most popular novelists. Her subsequent books, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses have been best-sellers, and the film of The Joy Luck Club was an unprecedented success. Although they are primarily concerned with the lives and concerns of Asian-American women, her stories have found an enthusiastic audience among Americans of all backgrounds, and have already been translated in...

12 MIN1998 MAY 23
Comments
Amy Tan (1998 Symposium)

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is one of America's most prolific and respected authors. She has distinguished herself in the academic world as teacher and critic, while earning a fortune as the author of best-selling novels in a wide range of genres, from the family chronicle to the historical novel, the gothic horror story and the suspense novel. Her work has been distinguished from the beginning by a keen, unflinching interest in the nature of evil and the sources of violence in American life. She won acclaim early in her career, receiving the National Book Award in 1970 for the novel "them." She has now written over 50 novels and more than 30 collections of short stories, as well as nonfiction works on literary subjects ranging from the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the fiction of Dostoyevsky and James Joyce, to such non-literary subjects as the painter George Bellows and the boxer Mike Tyson. In 1996, Joyce Carol Oates was honored by the international writers' association PEN with its Malamu...

3 MIN1997 MAY 20
Comments
Joyce Carol Oates

Amy Tan (1996 Symposium)

In 1988, Amy Tan was earning an excellent living writing speeches for business executives. She worked around the clock to meet the demands from her many high-priced clients, but she took no joy in the work, and felt frustrated and unfulfilled. In her mid-thirties, she took up writing fiction. A year later her first book, a collection of interrelated stories called The Joy Luck Club was an international best-seller, and Amy Tan's life was changed forever. Only 20 years ago, a list of well-known American authors would have included virtually no Asian-Americans. Today Amy Tan is one of America's most popular novelists. Her subsequent books, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses have been best-sellers, and the film of The Joy Luck Club was an unprecedented success. Although they are primarily concerned with the lives and concerns of Asian-American women, her stories have found an enthusiastic audience among Americans of all backgrounds, and have already been translated in...

7 MIN1996 JUN 28
Comments
Amy Tan (1996 Symposium)

Dominick Dunne

Dominick John Dunne (1925 Ŭ 2009) was an American writer and investigative journalist, whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways in which high society interacts with the judicial system. He was a movie producer in Hollywood and was also known for his frequent appearances on television.

21 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Dominick Dunne

Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925 Ŭ January 17, 2007) was one of AmericaŴs most popular humorists who źspoofed the tangled web of national politics and the muddle of modern lifeŹ as a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. Buchwald was once described as a źWill Rogers with chutzpah.Ź He was born in New York, his familyŴs business failed during the Great Depression, and he moved between foster homes. His life was marked by unhappiness and alienation, and, at age 17, he dropped out of high school, and joined the United States Marine Corps during World War II. In 1945, Buchwald enrolled at the University of Southern California on the G.I. Bill, became managing editor of the campus magazine, and wrote a column for the college newspaper. He quit USC in 1948, and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. Buchwald became a popular columnist for the Paris edition of The New York Herald Tribune. He returned to the United States in 1962, and went on to write a column, which appeared in 550...

10 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Art Buchwald

Rita Dove

Rita Dove is one of America's best-known and most honored poets. Her collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, based on the lives of her grandparents, earned her the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She was only the second African-American to win this prize. In 1993, she was appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She was the youngest person, and the first African-American, to receive this highest official honor in American letters. From an early age, Rita loved poetry and music. As one of the most outstanding high school graduates of her year, she was invited to the White House as a Presidential Scholar. She began to pursue writing seriously while studying at Miami University in Ohio. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in English in 1973, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for two years at the University of Tubingen. She then joined the famous Writers' Workshop at the Universit...

13 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Rita Dove

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton (1942 - 2008) was a literary phenomenon. He sold his first article to The New York Times when he was only 14, and worked his way through Harvard Medical School writing detective stories. He struck gold with his 1969 bestseller The Andromeda Strain, a taut thriller, replete with authentic medical detail, in which a team of scientists fight an extraterrestrial virus that threatens the entire human race. The Andromeda Strain was one of three novels he published that year, the same year he completed his medical studies at Harvard. He pursued post-doctoral studies at the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, but soon decided to devote all his time to his writing. An extraordinarily prolific writer, he directed his fascination with the outer reaches of scientific knowledge into a career as a bestselling author and filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, he held a worldwide audience spellbound. Many of his novels, including Rising Sun, Congo, Jurassic Park and The Lost Wor...

11 MIN1992 JUN 27
Comments
Michael Crichton

Oliver Stone

One of the most acclaimed and controversial filmmakers of our times, Oliver Stone's compelling dramas are steeped in the great social conflicts of our history, and grounded in his own experience. After dropping out of Yale University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in combat in Vietnam. After his military service, he attended the film school of New York University, and wrote a series of hard-hitting screenplays, including Midnight Express, Scarface and Year of the Dragon. He turned to directing with Salvador and won Best of Director Oscars for the powerful Vietnam War dramas, Platoon and Born On the Fourth of July. His 1987 film Wall Street captured the spirit of the "go-go '80s" era in American business. Stone ignited a firestorm of controversy with his 1992 film JFK, which explicitly dramatized a conspiracy theory of the assassination of President Kennedy. In this podcast, recorded during the Academy of Achievement's 1992 Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stone discusses this ...

12 MIN1992 JUN 27
Comments
Oliver Stone

Latest Episodes

David Herbert Donald

The Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University, David Herbert Donald (1920-2009) also taught at Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Oxford and Columbia. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, in 1961 for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and again in 1988 for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe, a study of the great American novelist of the 1930s. Professor Donald is best known for his works dealing with the era of the Civil War, especially the monumental Lincoln (1996), the first biography of Lincoln to draw on the complete collection of Lincoln's personal, presidential and legal papers. The enthralling biography remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for 14 weeks. He continued his examination of Lincoln's life and character with We Are Lincoln Men, a study of the 16th President as seen through the eyes of his closest friends. Speaking at the International Achievement Summit on the eve of the 2000 United States presidential elec...

9 MIN2000 OCT 28
Comments
David Herbert Donald

Stephen Ambrose

Although the historian Stephen Ambrose (1936 - 2002) wrote over 30 books, he was almost as well-known to the public for his appearances on television's political discussion programs, where he was frequently called upon to discuss the American presidency, the history of the American West and the legacy of the Second World War. As a boy growing up in Wisconsin, Stephen Ambrose planned to follow in his father's footsteps as a small-town doctor; he entered the University of Wisconsin as a pre-med student, but his first day in American History class changed his life. He changed his major to history and never looked back. His first book sold fewer than a thousand copies, but it caught the eye of former President Dwight Eisenhower, who invited Ambrose to write an authorized biography. Ambrose's multi-volume lives of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, along with works on the opening of the American West, and on the experience of common soldiers in World War II, made him one of America's most ...

12 MIN1998 MAY 23
Comments
Stephen Ambrose

Amy Tan (1998 Symposium)

In 1988, Amy Tan was earning an excellent living writing speeches for business executives. She worked around the clock to meet the demands from her many high-priced clients, but she took no joy in the work, and felt frustrated and unfulfilled. In her mid-thirties, she took up writing fiction. A year later her first book, a collection of interrelated stories called The Joy Luck Club was an international best-seller, and Amy Tan's life was changed forever. Only 20 years ago, a list of well-known American authors would have included virtually no Asian-Americans. Today Amy Tan is one of America's most popular novelists. Her subsequent books, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses have been best-sellers, and the film of The Joy Luck Club was an unprecedented success. Although they are primarily concerned with the lives and concerns of Asian-American women, her stories have found an enthusiastic audience among Americans of all backgrounds, and have already been translated in...

12 MIN1998 MAY 23
Comments
Amy Tan (1998 Symposium)

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is one of America's most prolific and respected authors. She has distinguished herself in the academic world as teacher and critic, while earning a fortune as the author of best-selling novels in a wide range of genres, from the family chronicle to the historical novel, the gothic horror story and the suspense novel. Her work has been distinguished from the beginning by a keen, unflinching interest in the nature of evil and the sources of violence in American life. She won acclaim early in her career, receiving the National Book Award in 1970 for the novel "them." She has now written over 50 novels and more than 30 collections of short stories, as well as nonfiction works on literary subjects ranging from the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the fiction of Dostoyevsky and James Joyce, to such non-literary subjects as the painter George Bellows and the boxer Mike Tyson. In 1996, Joyce Carol Oates was honored by the international writers' association PEN with its Malamu...

3 MIN1997 MAY 20
Comments
Joyce Carol Oates

Amy Tan (1996 Symposium)

In 1988, Amy Tan was earning an excellent living writing speeches for business executives. She worked around the clock to meet the demands from her many high-priced clients, but she took no joy in the work, and felt frustrated and unfulfilled. In her mid-thirties, she took up writing fiction. A year later her first book, a collection of interrelated stories called The Joy Luck Club was an international best-seller, and Amy Tan's life was changed forever. Only 20 years ago, a list of well-known American authors would have included virtually no Asian-Americans. Today Amy Tan is one of America's most popular novelists. Her subsequent books, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses have been best-sellers, and the film of The Joy Luck Club was an unprecedented success. Although they are primarily concerned with the lives and concerns of Asian-American women, her stories have found an enthusiastic audience among Americans of all backgrounds, and have already been translated in...

7 MIN1996 JUN 28
Comments
Amy Tan (1996 Symposium)

Dominick Dunne

Dominick John Dunne (1925 Ŭ 2009) was an American writer and investigative journalist, whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways in which high society interacts with the judicial system. He was a movie producer in Hollywood and was also known for his frequent appearances on television.

21 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Dominick Dunne

Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925 Ŭ January 17, 2007) was one of AmericaŴs most popular humorists who źspoofed the tangled web of national politics and the muddle of modern lifeŹ as a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. Buchwald was once described as a źWill Rogers with chutzpah.Ź He was born in New York, his familyŴs business failed during the Great Depression, and he moved between foster homes. His life was marked by unhappiness and alienation, and, at age 17, he dropped out of high school, and joined the United States Marine Corps during World War II. In 1945, Buchwald enrolled at the University of Southern California on the G.I. Bill, became managing editor of the campus magazine, and wrote a column for the college newspaper. He quit USC in 1948, and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. Buchwald became a popular columnist for the Paris edition of The New York Herald Tribune. He returned to the United States in 1962, and went on to write a column, which appeared in 550...

10 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Art Buchwald

Rita Dove

Rita Dove is one of America's best-known and most honored poets. Her collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, based on the lives of her grandparents, earned her the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She was only the second African-American to win this prize. In 1993, she was appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She was the youngest person, and the first African-American, to receive this highest official honor in American letters. From an early age, Rita loved poetry and music. As one of the most outstanding high school graduates of her year, she was invited to the White House as a Presidential Scholar. She began to pursue writing seriously while studying at Miami University in Ohio. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in English in 1973, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for two years at the University of Tubingen. She then joined the famous Writers' Workshop at the Universit...

13 MIN1994 JUN 1
Comments
Rita Dove

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton (1942 - 2008) was a literary phenomenon. He sold his first article to The New York Times when he was only 14, and worked his way through Harvard Medical School writing detective stories. He struck gold with his 1969 bestseller The Andromeda Strain, a taut thriller, replete with authentic medical detail, in which a team of scientists fight an extraterrestrial virus that threatens the entire human race. The Andromeda Strain was one of three novels he published that year, the same year he completed his medical studies at Harvard. He pursued post-doctoral studies at the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, but soon decided to devote all his time to his writing. An extraordinarily prolific writer, he directed his fascination with the outer reaches of scientific knowledge into a career as a bestselling author and filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, he held a worldwide audience spellbound. Many of his novels, including Rising Sun, Congo, Jurassic Park and The Lost Wor...

11 MIN1992 JUN 27
Comments
Michael Crichton

Oliver Stone

One of the most acclaimed and controversial filmmakers of our times, Oliver Stone's compelling dramas are steeped in the great social conflicts of our history, and grounded in his own experience. After dropping out of Yale University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in combat in Vietnam. After his military service, he attended the film school of New York University, and wrote a series of hard-hitting screenplays, including Midnight Express, Scarface and Year of the Dragon. He turned to directing with Salvador and won Best of Director Oscars for the powerful Vietnam War dramas, Platoon and Born On the Fourth of July. His 1987 film Wall Street captured the spirit of the "go-go '80s" era in American business. Stone ignited a firestorm of controversy with his 1992 film JFK, which explicitly dramatized a conspiracy theory of the assassination of President Kennedy. In this podcast, recorded during the Academy of Achievement's 1992 Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stone discusses this ...

12 MIN1992 JUN 27
Comments
Oliver Stone
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