Art Spiegelman, David Sedaris and Every Author You've Ever Loved Join Arts and Letters Live, 2013

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Santa must have received your exceptionally poignant, well-crafted letter detailing your desire to spend evenings with your favorite modern literary icons. I mean, this list of participating authors in the 2013 Arts and Letters Live series is insane. Let's just check out a few of the biggest names.

Art Speigelman? ART SPEIGELMAN? His work a writer and cartoonist has changed the way people view illustrated stories. His masterpiece, MAUS, gave a level of weight and credibility to the medium that simply wasn't there before. Now, if people scoff at your choice of reading material, dismissing it as a "comic," you're allowed to shake your fist in the air and scream "It's a GRAPHIC NOVEL!" Art Speigelman did that. And we're all better because of it.

Madeleine Albright?! She's a shero. The first female Secretary of State is a prized mind among political analysts and the best selling author of five novels. And she'll be speaking in Dallas? No big deal.

David Sedaris is back for his fifth year of Arts and Letters live lectures. The toast of NPR and the ever hilarious essayist never dissapoints. He's just great great great, and you'll be responsible for one, rockin' date night if you shell for two tickets.

And c'mon, Margaret Atwood got you through Women's Studies with stories like The Handmaid's Tale. Her collections of essays and shorts, like that tiny book she put out in the late '90s, Good Bones and Simple Murders, are still some of my favorites. Just to further sweeten the evening, she'll be a tie-in with the DMA's exhibition The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, and give insights to how Greek mythology and art influence her work. (I swear I'll get through The Blind Assassin someday, sigh.)

And hold up, George Saunders? He's amazing! You know he's a MacArthur Genius grant recipient, right? Did you ever read his book The Braindead Megaphone essays that David Sedaris recommended during his mid-2000s book tour? You should get on that; it's inspiring, hilarious and so insanely thoughtful. He's got a new one coming out called Tenth of December, and word on the street is that it's the very best of what you love about his writing. He's, quite possibly, the best short story author of our generation.

Let's just say a few words about Cheryl Strayed, while we're gushing. Her memoir Wild, about one woman's adventure into the wilderness following her mother's death, is a game-changer. It was her first book, and everyone who stalked her Dear Sugar column on The Rumpus left high-flying dust footprints when they bolted out to get the new release. She spoke in Dallas earlier this year at an under-publicized, and very expensive, library fundraiser that nobody went to, so I'm stoked that she's joined up with Arts and Letters Live. Now we'll all get a second chance to experience her.

Changing absolutely everything about our understanding of autism is Dr. Temple Grandin. In her work she's restructured slaughterhouses, giving peace and integrity to the lives and final moments of animals. She'll be presenting in conjunction with her newest work, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum.

Don't miss out. Get your tickets now or hate yourself forever.

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