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Saturday, October 10 • 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Saturday Luncheon & Keynote Speaker

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An op-ed columnist for The Los Angeles Times since 2005 and a 2015 Guggenheim fellow, Meghan Daum is the author of four books and editor of the new anthology Selfish, Shallow & Self- Absorbed: Sixteen Writers On The Decision To Not Have Children (Picador 2015.). Ms. Daum also works as an adjunct associate professor in the MFA writing division at Columbia University's School of the Arts in New York City.

Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed has attracted enormous media and public interest, sparking a national conversation among parents and non-parents alike. Ms. Daum’s basic message, that opting out of parenthood is not a function of laziness or immaturity but, rather, a complicated, intensely personal decision that actually honors good parenting, is explored in essays from celebrated writers like Pam Houston, Sigrid Nunez, Lionel Shriver, Geoff Dyer, and Kate Christensen, among others.

Daum’s own collection of essays, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion (FSG 2014) is a series of original works looking at sentimentality and manufactured emotion in American life. The essays take on serious subjects, such as the death of a parent, the decision not to have a child, and Daum's own near death from a freak illness, as well as lighter topics like the love of dogs, the proper appreciation of Joni Mitchell, the tedium of foodie culture, the definition of "romance" and much more. Widely praised by critics, The Unspeakable was called a “best of 2014” book by Slate, Entertainment Weekly and The Huffington Post. In The New York Times Book Review, author Cheryl Strayed called it “thrillingly good” and named it the best book she read in 2014. 

Daum’s other books include Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House (Knopf 2010), a personal chronicle of real estate addiction and obsessive fascination with houses, the novel The Quality of Life Report (Viking 2003) and the essay collection My Misspent Youth (Open City 2001; a reissue from Picador will be out in the fall of 2015.)

She has contributed to public radio's Morning Edition, Marketplace and This American Life and has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Harper's, GQ, Elle, and Vogue. Her work is also included in dozens of college textbooks and anthologies, including Goodbye To All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, The KGB Bar Reader, Sex and Sensibility, Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit and The New Gilded Age: The New Yorker Looks at the Culture of Affluence among many others. 

Born in California in 1970, Daum was raised primarily on the east coast and is a graduate of Vassar College and the MFA writing program at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She spent several years in New York City before making her now-infamous move to Nebraska in 1999, where she continued to work as an essayist and journalist and wrote The Quality of Life Report while living out her longtime fantasy of literally residing in a little house on the prairie. In 2003, she moved to Los Angeles, where she has hosted and moderated numerous interviews and panels for public event series such as Zócalo Public Square, the LA Public Library's ALOUD program, and Live Talks L.A. 

Daum currently divides her time between Los Angeles and New York, where she is an adjunct associate professor in the MFA writing division at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She has taught at the California Institute for the Arts, the Aspen Writers' Festival, and the Nebraska Summer Writers' Conference and has been a mentor in PEN USA's Emerging Voices Program. She also volunteers as a foster child advocate for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Los Angeles County. 

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Meghan Daum

Author, Columnist & Essayist, .
Meghan Daum, an author, columnist, and essayist, has been an op-ed columnist for The Los Angeles Times since 2005. A 2015 Guggenheim fellow, she is the author of four books as well as the editor of the new anthology Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Choice Not to Have Children (Picador 2015.)  Called “hugely significant” by The Atlantic, Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed has attracted enormous media... Read More →

Saturday October 10, 2015 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Downtown Marriott at Key Center - Ballroom

Attendees (21)