Contemporary Conversations

Contemporary Conversations is a series of talks about cultural and current issues with journalists, authors and other relevant speakers. Sponsored by MCPL and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County.

Bob Levey

May 11, 2019
Chevy Chase Library

Prize-winning journalist, former Washington Post columnist and TV-radio commentator Bob Levey will talk about his experience as a 37-year career reporter covering all aspects of life in the nation’s capital. Mr. Levey will also discuss the status of journalism today and his novel “Larry Felder, Candidate,” which offers penetrating insights into the contemporary worlds of journalism and politics.

Contemporary Conversations: Bob Levey


Joseph A. Esposito

October 21, 2018
Rockville Memorial Library

Writer, historian and educator Joseph A. Esposito will talk about his 2018 book Dinner in Camelot , which is centered on a White House banquet hosting numerous Nobel prize winners. Mr. Esposito will discuss the background, meaning and repercussions of this famous dinner. He will also sign copies of his book after the event. Dinner in Camelot will be available for purchase from the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County. Limited seating. No registration required. Doors open at 6 pm. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County and Friends of the Library, Rockville Memorial Chapter.

Joseph Esposito


Dinaw Mengestu

June 9, 2018
Silver Spring Library

Award-winning author and MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Dinaw Mengestu will speak about his inspiration for his work The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and his experiences as an Ethiopian immigrant living between different cultures and worlds. Mr. Mengestu is also the author of How to Read the Air and All Our Names; his journalism and fiction have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. Sponsored by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County and Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter.

Contemporary Conversations: Dinaw Mengestu

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Nancy Pearl

March 25, 2018
Rockville Memorial Library

Librarian Nancy Pearl, best-selling author, regular commentator about books on NPR’s Morning Edition, and former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book, will speak as part of the Contemporary Conversation series @ MCPL. A recipient in 2011 of the Librarian of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Ms. Pearl will share the origins of her love of reading and libraries, how the Book Lust books came to be written, what she’s discovered that the perils of a life of reading can be, and, along the way, of course, she’ll suggest some great books to read.

Contemporary Conversations: Nancy Pearl


Craig Dudnick

October 14, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Inspiration: Screening of Alice’s Ordinary People, a documentary by Craig Dudnick. The documentary Alice’s Ordinary People focuses on Alice Tregay, an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Filmmaker Craig Dudnick will give an introduction, speaking of the circumstances in Chicago which drew Alice to the movement and how he came to make the film. Alice’s remarkable story as an activist spans fifty years and is about ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for human rights. There will be time for Q&A and a discussion with the filmmaker following the screening. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. and Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter.

Contemporary Conversations: Craig Dudnick


Hena Khan

June 4, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Picture book and middle grade author Hena Khan will speak as part of the Contemporary Conversations series at MCPL. Her picture book, It’s Ramadan, Curious George made international headlines. Ms. Khan is the author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns —a 2013 ALA Notable Book and a 2013 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year—and Night of the Moon —a booklist 2009 Top 10 Religion Book for Youth. Amina’s Voice by Ms. Khan is the first book to be printed by the new publishing imprint, Salaam Reads. Salaam Reads aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter.

Contemporary Conversations: Hena Khan


Charles Lane

May 7, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Washington Post editorial writer, Charles Lane, is weekly columnist for the Post and a contributor to the PostPartisan blog. Mr. Lane specializes in economic and fiscal policy. In 2009, Mr. Lane was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing. He is the author of The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction (2008) and Stay of Execution: Saving the Death Penalty from Itself (2010). This Contemporary Conversations is hosted by the County Executive Ike Leggett.

Contemporary Conversations: Charles Lane


David Ignatius

April 1, 2017
Gaithersburg Library

David Ignatius, best-selling author and prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years. Mr. Ignatius covered nearly every Washington beat, from the Pentagon to the CIA to Capitol Hill, as well as global politics, and the Middle East and he has turned his experiences with the CIA into nine thrilling bestsellers.

Contemporary Conversations: David Ignatius


Kojo Nnamdi

March 4, 2017
Gaithersburg Library

Kojo Nnamdi, one of the most well-known interviewers and talk show hosts in the Washington, D.C. area will be the first speaker in the new Contemporary Conversations series @ MCPL. Host of the NPR program that bears his name and formerly of the TV talk show “Evening Exchange,” Mr. Nnamdi is celebrated for his knowledge on a wide range of social, political and cultural issues relevant to the nation’s capital and to the world outside Washington. With a reputation for his versatility and exhaustive preparation, Mr. Nnamdi has received several awards, including Washingtonian of the Year and one of the One-Hundred Fifty most influential people in the metropolitan area by Washingtonian Magazine.

Contemporary Conversations: Kojo Nnamdi