Bird Colloquia

LFA's English Department is proud to announce the Bird Colloquia, an 18-month speaker's series that uses literature to teach and inspire entitled Write 4 Courage/Speak 2 Courage. The purpose of this series is to emphasize that the writing, speaking, and the “doing” of courage is a process—first, developing the skill (writing, speaking, creating) and then enacting on one’s ideas (courage) for a specific audience and purpose.

To start off the series, Caroline Rothstein will be working with freshman students in February. Caroline Rothstein shared her story at the annual Joshua Aaron Rothstein ’05 Memorial Lecture* last year. This year’s keynote speaker for the Rothstein Lecture is Josh Karp, a sports writer and independent school alum who will also be working with LFA seniors.

In April, LFA will welcome Asian-American novelist Gail Tsukiyama and Oprah Book Club writer Jane Hamilton who will speak to sophomores. The event is a testament to LFA’s ongoing partnership with Lake Forest's Ragdale Foundation. The event will also be co-sponsored by the Lake Forest Book Store. See the flyer for the event here.

Additionally, Irshad Manji, Director of the University of Southern California's Moral Courage Project, will be a Scholar-in-Residence for a year. She will make multiple campus visits and begin her work with the juniors this spring.

Please contact Dr. Patrick Finnessey, Master Chair in English, with questions about the Bird Colloquia. Bios for each presenter can be found below.



*The Joshua Aaron Rothstein ’05 Memorial Lecture was established by Nancy and Steven Rothstein in memory of their son, Josh, who was tragically killed during his sophomore year at Lake Forest Academy. By establishing the lecture, the Rothstein family honors Josh’s memory; his kind deeds, his entrepreneurial accomplishments, and the depth of character that he demonstrated daily in his interactions with family, friends, and strangers.


Caroline Rothstein

Caroline Rothstein is a New York City-based award-winning writer and performer. She has been performing spoken word poetry, public speaking, and facilitating workshops at colleges, schools, and performance venues worldwide for over a decade. In sharing her personal story unfiltered, unabashed, and unashamed, Caroline’s motto is "From Adversity Comes Triumph,” empowering individuals to embrace self-confidence and authenticity. Encouraging audiences and readers alike to find strength in their vulnerability, her work ushers others to unlock permission in embracing the power of their own story and voice.

Caroline’s work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Narratively, The Huffington Post, Williams Magazine, and elsewhere. Her award-winning one-woman play “faith” about her experience with and recovery from an eating disorder debuted as part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage 2012 Festival. She has a B.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Josh Karp

Josh Karp is a native of Glencoe, Illinois, and graduated from Milton Academy and Macalester College. After a few years of being bad at marketing and advertising, he sought refuge at law school, where he did ok, but almost didn't graduate because he was too disorganized to complete the paperwork for an internship. This led to joining the family bakery supply business, which was promptly acquired by some Dutch people. That was good, as Karp wasn't particularly good at that either.

Then, Karp got a graduate journalism degree at Northwestern. Since that time, his work has appeared in Salon, Premiere, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, TimeOut New York and other publications. Karp is the author of A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever and teaches journalism at Northwestern. He is not an alumna of the Ragdale Foundation.

Gail Tsukiyama

Gail Tsukiyama is an American novelist and one of nine fiction authors to appear during the first Library of Congress National Book Festival. Her works include The Samurai’s Garden, Women of the Silk, Night of Many Dreams, Dreaming Water, and The Language of Threads.

She was born in San Francisco to a Japanese father and a Chinese mother. She has an M.A. degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She is an alumna of the Ragdale Foundation.

Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton is a novelist with two of her books being selected for the Oprah Book Club. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, was the basis for a 2004 television film of the same title. Her novel A Map of the World was adapted for a film and her third novel, The Short History of a Prince, was a Publishers Weekly Best book.

She is from Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from Carleton College as an English major. She is an alumna of the Ragdale Foundation.

Irshad Manji

The New York Times described Professor Irshad Manji as “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.” A Muslim who openly stands for the dignity of women and minorities, she has founded the award-winning Moral Courage Project. The University of Southern California is where Irshad and her team teach “moral courage,” which means doing the right thing in the face of your fears. It’s a leadership practice that applies not just to students, but also to educators, entrepreneurs and executives.

Irshad discovered her mission through a deeply personal journey. In 2004, she wrote The Trouble with Islam Today. It became an international bestseller. In 2008, Irshad turned the book into an Emmy-nominated PBS film, Faith Without Fear. And in 2011, she published Allah, Liberty & Love. Along the way, Irshad drew key lessons in morally courageous leadership. For example, when do you step up for the sake of honesty? When do you step back for the sake of humility? Combining her reflections with cutting-edge research, she realized that moral courage is needed by anyone who seeks to have impact.

African by birth, Canadian by citizenship, American by immersion and universal by reach, Irshad, appearing on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and other international news shows, inspires fresh perspectives on success, leadership, inclusion and integrity. She is currently writing her third book.

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