Thinking Out Loud: Who Owns the Word—Part 2: Books

Date and Time
December 10, 2018
Event Details

In an age of plummeting wages and technological uncertainty, what is the future for the profession of writing? Novelist Richard Russo surveys authors, editors, and publishers.

"Man writing at a desk" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860 - 1920.
"Man writing at a desk" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860 - 1920. 

- Kurt Andersen, bestselling author and host of Studio 360
- Alexander Chee, bestselling novelist and essayist
- Madeline McIntosh, CEO, Penguin Random House
- Richard Russo, novelist and Vice President, the Authors Guild
- TJ Stiles, award-winning biographer

A recent Authors Guild study showed that full-time incomes for writers have dropped by 30 percent since 2009—from $25,000 to $17,500. While writers struggle to earn a living wage, tech-based platforms that drive demand for content siphon off a disproportionate share of profits as they create opportunities for authors. Yet writers and the work they produce are as vital to society as ever.

Who Owns the Word is a three-part series presented in partnership with the Authors Guild. Engaging writers from across disciplines and platforms—from journalists to screenwriters, novelists to publishers—the second installment will examine the perils and possibilities for writers of fiction in the digital age—and the role institutions and corporations can play in sustaining the freedoms of expression on which a democratic society rests.

The following installment of this series will take place on January 23, 2019.

Presented in partnership with the Authors Guild.


For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form one hour before the program.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at For all other inquiries, please contact