As usual, a spring of great thinkers (Michio Kaku), literary masters (Paul Auster, Colson Whitehead, Lorrie Moore), leading poets (Linda Gregerson, Tracy K. Smith), and just plain famous folks (Madeleine Albright, Jake Tapper, Lamont "U-God" Hawkins) bubbles up throughout Philadelphia this spring.
Readings are fun because you can behold the person behind the art. As they say, it's great to put a face with a name. Readings below are free unless otherwise specified. Get out and see your present and future favorites.
Paul Auster (Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m., Kelly Writers House). The prolific fiction writer and memoirist talks about his art. Free; RSVP required. Note: There's a 10 a.m. brunch with Paul Auster the next day, also free with RSVP. (215-746-7636, writing.upenn.edu/wh)
Linda Gregerson (Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m., Goodheart Music Room, Bryn Mawr College). The Guggenheim-winning poet reads from her work. (610-526-5304, brynmawr.edu/reading-series)
Susan Howe (Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., Sharpless Auditorium, Haverford College). She's eminent, influential, and much revered, and she reads from her work. (610-896-1016, haverford.edu)
Michio Kaku (Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). The visionary physicist, futurist, and cofounder of String Theory, on his book The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth. Tickets: $15. (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Steven Karl, Raena Shirali, Boston Gordon, and Steven Perez (Feb. 25, 8 p.m., Tattooed Mom). Four local poets. (215-238-9880, tattooedmomphilly.com)
Colson Whitehead (Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Arts Center, Germantown Academy). The winner of a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a National Book Award discusses his book The Underground Railroad and answers audience questions. (215-646-3300, germantownacademy.net)
Walter Moseley (March 6, 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). The novelist with his new one, Down the River Unto the Sea. (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Lamont "U-God" Hawkins (March 8, 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). Hawkins' new book Raw: My Journey into the Wu-Tang is a hip-hop autobiography and artistic statement. Tickets: $15. (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Sam Gridley (March 15, 7 p.m., Media Arts Council). Philadelphia author of such novels as The Shame of What We Are and The Big Happiness. (484-550-5959, mediaartscouncil.org/state-street-reading-series)
Kate Moore (March 22, 12:30 p.m., Penn Book Center). Author of "The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women." (215-222-7600, pennbookcenter.com)
Tracy K. Smith (April 5, 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). The U.S. Poet Laureate reads from her new volume of verse, Wade in the Water. Tickets: $15. (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Junot Diaz (April 7, 12:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). The Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winner brings his new children's book, Islandborn, to the Free Library. Tickets: $10 ($22 for book and ticket). (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Barbara Ehrenreich (April 17, 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library). Her new book, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Our Illusion of Control, trains her famously original and piercing gaze on all these things and more. Tickets: $15. (215-567-4341, freelibrary.org)
Charles Blow (April 23, 6:30 p.m., Kelly Writers House). The New York Times columnist on his work and our times. Free; RSVP required. Note: There's a 10 a.m. brunch with Charles Blow next day, also free with RSVP. (215-746-7636, writing.upenn.edu/wh)