20th & Vine - Backstage with Amy Tan

This month we're featuring Amy Tan, who recently visited the Free Library of Philadelphia while on tour for her memoir, Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir. Laura Kovacs spoke to her backstage about what her idea was of a perfect day and what is the value of being a reader. 20th & Vine is behind-the-scenes conversations from the Free Library of Philadelphia's award-winning Author Events series. Subscribe now for more videos with your favorite authors.
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  • Russell Shorto is the author of the bestselling The Island at the Center of World , “a masterpiece of storytelling and first-rate intellectual history” ( Wall Street Journal ) of the forgotten and mythologized Dutch colony of Manhattan. His other… more

  • John Banville | Mrs. Osmond

    • Recorded Nov 14, 2017

    John Banville won the Man Booker Prize for The Sea , a story of loss and the fickle power of memory celebrated for its “power and strangeness and piercing beauty” ( The Washington Post Book World ). His other fiction—including The Book of… more

  • Acclaimed for synthesizing historical insight with wit and exuberance, Gordon S. Wood won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for The Radicalism of the American Revolution , a rollicking and watershed study of the… more

  • Isabel Allende | In the Midst of Winter

    • Recorded Nov 10, 2017

    In conversation with Janet Benton, author of the debut novel Lilli de Jong . “Poignant, powerful” and “timeless” ( Boston Globe ), Isabel Allende’s acclaimed historical fiction weaves reality, memory, and mysticism into tapestries of… more

  • In conversation with longtime broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak One of the most decorated and popular journalists of all time, Dan Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years. Renowned for his laconic Texas drawl and… more

  • “One of the finest poets of our time” ( Ebony ), Nikki Giovanni is the author of nearly 30 books, including the collections Acolytes; Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment; Those Who Ride the Night Winds ; and  Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea . A… more

  • The host of MSNBC’s popular news and commentary program Hardball , Chris Matthews is one of America’s most familiar media faces. A former longtime syndicated print media columnist, staffer for several Democratic members of Congress, and… more

  • In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me , a “searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today” ( New York Times… more

  • In conversation with Dena Heilek Reading “like a conversation with a witty friend who can recommend the perfect nosh for any occasion” ( O, The Oprah Magazine ), Deb Perelman’s bestselling The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook won hearts and stomachs for… more

  • Jennifer Weiner is the “funny, fierce, feisty” ( Glamour ) no. 1  New York Times  bestselling author of more than a dozen novels that dive headlong into the ups and downs of relationships, careers, and family dynamics. With 11 million copies in… more

  • In conversation with Mary Richardson Graham John Hodgman played the role of “PC” in the Apple vs. PC commercials, served alternately as the “Resident Expert” and “Deranged Millionaire” on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, adjudicates vital… more

  • In conversation with Nermeen Shaikh , co-Host and Producer at Democracy Now! Ms. Shaikh is the author of The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power and has an M.Phil. in politics from Cambridge University. Juan González… more

  • The Legacy of Race and Policing

    • Recorded Oct 25, 2017

    Seeking to encourage and host conversations about differences and complex social issues, and in response to the National Endowment for the Humanities’ call for public programming on the legacy of race in the United States, the Free Library is… more

  • In conversation with Carlin Romano , Critic-at-Large, The Chronicle of Higher Education , former literary critic The Philadelphia Inquirer and author of America the Philosophical   Lauded historian Simon Schama is the author of The Embarrassment… more

  • Alice McDermott | The Ninth Hour

    • Recorded Oct 23, 2017

    *Pulling the delicate threads of “fear and vulnerability, joy and passion, the capacity for love and pain and grief” ( The Washington Post ), Alice McDermott’s acclaimed fiction explores intersecting stories of familial love, Irish American… more

  • *In conversation with longtime broadcaster and journalist, Tracey Matisak Best known for leading roles in a variety of comedies, dramas, and action films such as The Brothers, Deliver Us from Eva, Bad Boys II , and 2016’s The Birth of a Nation ,… more

  • *National Book Award nominee and Yale Law School professor James Forman Jr. has spent decades teaching, writing, and working on the ground in criminal procedure and policy, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. A former law clerk for… more

  • In conversation with Laura Kovacs, associate director, author events “Powerful” and “full of magic” ( Los Angeles Times ), Amy Tan is the author of the beloved novels  The Joy Luck Club , a finalist for the National Book Award and the National… more

  • A CNN political contributor and host of a popular recurring primetime special bearing his name, Van Jones was a green-jobs advisor to the Obama administration, overseeing billions in environmental recovery spending. His two bestselling books are… more

  • James McBride | Five-Carat Soul

    • Recorded Oct 11, 2017

    “Absorbing and darkly funny” ( San Francisco Chronicle ), James McBride is the author of the National Book Award winner  The Good Lord Bird , in which a young boy born into slavery joins abolitionist John Brown’s doomed mission. His nonfiction… more