Festival books

Journalists, politicians, authors and newsmakers from our community and around the nation will take the stages of Seattle University this weekend for Crosscut Festival. There they will hold thought-provoking conversations and tackle the most important issues of our time, and then they will be gone.

Yet the ideas and reporting and personalities that bring the festival to life are always available, in articles, online and in deeply researched, engrossing, beautiful books. 

Books, in particular, offer a deeper dive in keeping with the festival's aim to entertain "Big Issues & Bold Ideas." The hourlong conversations will give you a taste of the stories, ideas and advice on offer from our guests, but these dozen books will immerse you in them.

Authors will be selling and signing these titles following their festival sessions.

Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward by Valerie Jarrett

When Valerie Jarrett interviewed a promising young lawyer named Michelle Robinson in July 1991 for a job in Chicago city government, neither knew that it was the first step on a path that would take Jarrett to the White House. Jarrett is a long, trusted adviser to the Obama family, and her book depicts her journey as a daughter, mother, lawyer, business leader and public servant. Jarrett will discuss her life and her time in the White House in a Fireside Chat with the New York Times' Jamelle Bouie.

Shout Your Abortion by Amelia Bonow

Using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion, Amelia Bonow publicly delivered an abortion disclosure that would go on to inspire a viral outpouring of abortion stories on social media. In 2018, PM Press published Shout Your Abortion's eponymously titled book, an anthology of art and abortion stories. Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has said, "Shout Your Abortion reflects what makes me most hopeful for the next century.” Bonow will be part of Crosscut Festival's #Activism That Works panel alongside Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner and Earth-Feather Sovereign. This discussion will be moderated by Hashtag Feminism founder Tara Conley.

Keep Marching: How Every Woman Can Take Action and Change Our World by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is the co-founder and executive director of MomsRising, an organization with more than 1 million members across the nation. Her book serves as a guide for women and includes practical tactics, policy solutions and strategies any woman can use to build her power. Rowe-Finkbeiner will appear alongside Bonow and Sovereign on the #Activism That Works panel.

Real Queer America by Samantha Allen

GLAAD Award-winning journalist Samantha Allen traversed the American heartland in search of the queer life for her book Real Queer America, exploring LGBTQ communities in traditionally Republican terrain while telling of her own journey as a trans woman. Allen will discuss her life and share the stories of the people she met along the way with former Stranger editor and writer David Schmader.

Weed: The User's Guide by David Schmader

As a longtime staff writer and editor at The Stranger, David Schmader covered Washington state's evolution from a prohibitionist state to a weed-lovers paradise. In 2016, he collected all that knowledge and published a guide for the rest of us. Schmader will moderate a conversation with Samantha Allen.

How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11 by Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano’s book offers an insightful look at American security from the perspective of a former secretary of homeland security, while also providing guidance and hope for the future. Napolitano sits for a Fireside Chat with moderator David Plotz.  

The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America by Ben Bradlee Jr.

The people of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, voted Democratic for decades, until Donald Trump won the ballot in 2016. Ben Bradlee Jr., who spent 25 years as a reporter and editor with The Boston Globe, explores what happened in the Pennsylvania county in his latest book. Bradlee was scheduled to appear with Thomas Edsall, Christopher Parker and Tay Wiles on the Has the Next Civil War Already Started? panel, moderated by Jamelle Bouie. He has since cancelled, but you should still read his book.

Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration by Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon, a staff  writer at The New York Times Magazine and co-host of the Slate's Political Gabfest podcast, explores the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America’s mass incarceration crisis in her book, ChargedBazelon and Jennifer Eberhardt will be in conversation with David Plotz for the Unbreaking the Criminal Justice System panel.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt

You don’t have to be racist to be biased. A Stanford University professor of psychology and recipient of a 2014 MacArthur "genius" grant, Jennifer Eberhardt has written a personal examination of unconscious bias and its influence on race relations and criminal justice. Eberhardt will take part in the Unbreaking the Criminal Justice System panel alongside Bazelon.

The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass

The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation. Reliance on welfare programs has surged. Manhattan Institute fellow Oren Cass researches these economic shifts in his latest work. Cass will join the Future of Work panel alongside Caleb Weaver and David Rolf. John Carlson will serve as moderator.

The Fight for $15: The Right Wage for a Working America by David Rolf  

David Rolf is a labor leader, organizer, writer and speaker, working to build the next American labor movement. He is the founder and president emeritus of SEIU 775 and a former vice president of SEIU International. His book makes an informed case for a national $15 an hour minimum wage, based largely on his success in helping raise the minimum wage in SeaTac and Seattle. Rolf will appear on the Future of Work panel with Cass and Caleb Weaver.

Become America by Eric Liu

What does it mean to be an engaged American in today’s divided political landscape, and how do we restore hope in our country? Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, works to answer these questions and provide inspiration in his latest book. Liu will open the Crosscut Festival on Friday, May 3, with a special convocation.

Buy your tickets to Crosscut Festival now!

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