The New Yorker Festival was born with the new millennium: the inaugural event, in 2000, featured poetry readings in Central Park, a cartoon exhibit in the 42nd Street Shuttle train, and an architectural tour of Manhattan. Since then, it’s evolved into a highly anticipated annual tradition, featuring more than fifty events each year and drawing crowds of more than twenty thousand people. This year’s festivities, as usual, will bring New Yorker writers and editors into conversation with some of today’s most fascinating writers, artists, entertainers, and politicians. But this year also marks a special occasion: it’s the twentieth annual New Yorker Festival.
In honor of this milestone, we dug up some of our favorite moments from New Yorker Festivals past. Several of the participants in these clips will be back to celebrate with us this year, including Alison Bechdel, Zadie Smith, and Kenan Thompson. Patti Smith will return, too—but will David Remnick back her up again on guitar? You’ll have to be there to find out.
This year’s festival takes place October 11th, 12th, and 13th. Tickets are available for purchase starting on September 10th.
Janet Mock, 2018
The writer, director, and activist speaks with Hilton Als about growing up in Hawaii outside of the gender binary, transitioning as a teen-ager, and reframing transgender stories through her work on the TV show “Pose.”
Kumail Nanjiani, 2017
The comedian and actor tells Emma Allen about moving from Pakistan to Iowa, the persistent sting of racism (“Even as a grown man . . . it flattens you”), and his strategy for shutting down hecklers.
Zadie Smith and Jeffrey Eugenides, 2016
How many hours a day should a writer write? How much research does a novel require? Two masters of the craft discuss their writing processes.
Patti Smith and David Remnick, 2015
Smith explains the story behind her hit song “Because the Night” and performs it live—with a special guest on guitar.
New Yorker Live
Videos from the 2017 New Yorker Festival
The Eighteenth Annual New Yorker Festival Begins Tonight
The New Yorker Festival 2017 Spotlight: Naomi Klein
The New Yorker Festival 2017 Spotlight: Barry Blitt
The New Yorker Festival 2017 Spotlight: Tracee Ellis Ross
The New Yorker Festival 2017 Spotlight: The Reverend William J. Barber II
Toni Morrison, 2015
The novelist, who died in August, tells Hilton Als about how her parents shaped her views on racism, work, and self-approval.
Stephen Sondheim, 2015
The composer talks with Adam Gopnik about the structure of musicals, and how to create a sense of unity from one song to the next.
Alison Bechdel, 2012
Years before Bechdel’s “Fun Home” was adapted into a Tony-winning Broadway musical, the graphic novelist spoke with Judith Thurman about coming out to her parents and her complicated relationship with her mother.
Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, and Kristen Wiig, 2010
The “Saturday Night Live” cast members, who heroically made it to the festival after a long night of performing, regale David Remnick with their audition stories.
Steve Martin and Roz Chast, 2006
Martin talks to Roz Chast about her early days as a cartoonist, and they look back at the first cartoon she published in The New Yorker, in 1978. As Martin puts it, “This is one of those things that is funny . . . later.”