A green light to greatness.®


July 20 - 22, 2018

(Schedule subject to change)

Friday, July 20

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. - Registration

8 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Writing Workshops

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Receptions

6:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Southwest Soiree

7:30 - 8:15 p.m.
Keynote Address Diana B. Henriques
Pulling Back the Curtain on the Powerful -
she is the author of “The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust,” a New York Times bestseller, and four other books on business history.

Her fifth book, “A First-Class Catastrophe: The Road to Black Monday, the Worst Day in Wall Street History,” was published to critical acclaim in September 2017. As a staff writer for The New York Times from 1989 to 2012 and as a contributing writer since then, she has largely specialized in investigative reporting on white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance.

Saturday, July 21

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Registration

8:30 – 9:25 a.m. – Session 1
What You Need to Know About Publishing Your First Book
Moderator: David Patterson
The journey from that initial idea for a book to a final printed product you can hold in your hand is long and arduous and riddled with potential pitfalls. How do you know if your idea is good enough? How do you find an agent? What do you need to write a good proposal? Where do you even begin? This panel features literary agents who specialize in nonfiction, an editor at a New York publishing house, and a first-time author who just went through the whole process. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, this is a good place to start.

  • Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency
  • John Parsley, Penguin Random House
  • BJ Robbins, BJ Robbins Literary Agency
  • Brantley Hargrove, author, “The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras”

9:30 – 10:20 a.m. – Session 2
The Future of News
Moderator: Thomas Huang, Sunday & enterprise editor, The Dallas Morning News
These are trying times for newspapers, but daily journalism isn’t going away anytime soon. New challenges and new technologies provide new opportunities. That goes beyond slideshows and pandering for click counts. What will daily newspapers—and their corresponding websites—look like in the future? Yes, it’s virtual reality mixed with traditional reporting and new ways of approaching audience engagement, but it’s also projects like the short stop-motion Lego movie produced by the data team at the Tampa Bay Times. In this session, editors at some of the country’s best newspapers discuss the most successful and interesting innovations they’ve come across.

  • Adam Playford, investigations editor, Tampa Times
  • Josh Susong, senior news director, The Arizona Republic
  • Hannah Wise, engagement editor, Dallas Morning News
  • Marcia Allert, director of photography, Dallas Morning News


10:35 – 11:25 am – Session 3
Telling Painful Truths About Yourself
Moderator: Evan Wright, author and contributor to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair
Jerry Stahl was a successful Hollywood writer. He wrote scripts for some of the most popular television shows of the last 30 years. His essays were published in national magazines. He won awards for his fiction. He was also a struggling heroin addict. He turned all of that into a memoir, “Permanent Midnight,” which was made into a movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Stahl learned all of the hazards and highs that come from sharing such a personal story. During this session, he talks with writer Evan Wright about how to tap into harrowing experiences, how to search for deeper meaning, and how to turn pain into art.

  • Jerry Stahl, author, “Permanent Midnight” and eight other books

11:30 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. Session 4
Beyond the Wall: The Truth about the Border
Moderator: Dianne Solis, senior writer, The Dallas Morning News
Immigration may be the most contentious issue in America today. Reporters covering what’s happening at the border are faced with challenges most of us could never imagine. Among those challenges: explaining the complex nuances of family detainment, accurately representing the views of stakeholders at every level of society, and cutting through the political strife to tell the stories of what’s really occurring in places where most of the public can’t go. This session features award-winning reporters from across the Southwest discussing the work being done at the border, where every word and every image has the potential to alter the national conversation, and every dispatch has the power to ruin lives.

  • Alfredo Corchado, author, “Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration”
  • Melissa del Bosque, Lannan Reporting Fellow with The Investigative Fund and author of “Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty”
  • Valeria Fernandez, independent journalist and contributor the Associated Press, Radio Bilingue, CNN Spanish and Al Jazeera English

12:30 – 1:25 p.m.

1:30 – 2:25 p.m. Session 5
Access to the A-List: When Celebrity Profiles Become Investigative Journalism
Moderator: Skip Hollandsworth, executive editor, Texas Monthly
Is Johnny Depp a sympathetic character? What’s it like to hang out with Lady Gaga? What does Lindsay Lohan say when she thinks nobody’s listening? Celebrity profiles can provide a guilty-pleasure look into the lives of the most famous people in the world. When done the right way, they can also provide a unique insight into the human condition. A good celebrity profile can be a master class in the art of deep, investigative reporting. And the best writers can apply those same skills to crafting a story about subjects like campus rape, the Flint water crisis, or the underreported policy history of the vice president of the United States.

  • Stephen Rodrick, contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also a writer-at-large at Esquire..
  • Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and contributing editor at Vanity Fair

2:30 – 3:25 p.m. Session 6
New Ways of Old Storytelling: The Future of Magazines
Moderator: Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and contributing editor at Vanity Fair
Great magazine stories have always had the power to transport an audience to somewhere unexpected, to transcend the traditional barriers of journalism, to look deeper into the people and issues that matter most. But what constitutes a great magazine story in the age of the faster-than-you-can-blink news cycle? This panel, hosted by Longform.org’s Max Linsky, features editors from WIRED, Huffington Post Highline, B/R Mag, and The Atlantic.

  • Andrea Valdez, editor, Wired Magazine
  • Christina Tapper, managing editor, Bleacher Report
  • Kate Rodemann, deputy editor, Highline/HuffPost


3:40 – 4:35 p.m. – Session 7
Bloomberg Speaker Series: True Tales About Real Spies
Moderator: Chris Vognar, culture critic, The Dallas Morning News
A conversation with Monte Reel on Spies, the Amazon and Gorillas: Monte Reel, Bloomberg’s Chicago-based projects and Investigative reporter, who is author of several books, including his most recent, “A Brotherhood of Spies” and two other books, “Between Man and Beast” and “The Last of the Tribe.” His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and other magazines. He currently writes for Bloomberg Businessweek as part of its Projects & Investigations staff, and previously was a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post.

  • Monte Reel, projects and investigative reporter, Bloomberg

4:40 – 5:40 p.m. – Session 8
Featured One-on-One with Jemele Hill, ESPN Sports, Race and Culture in America
Moderator: Kevin Merida
Jemele Hill is a contributor to ESPN’s The Undefeated, a platform that fuses sports, race, and culture. She was previously co-host of ESPN’s flagship SportsCenter. Prior to that, Hill wrote a column for ESPN.com’s Page 2 and hosted ESPN’s His and Hers, a statistics-based sports discussion program. Born in Detroit, MI, Hill went on to attend Michigan State University. She began her career as a sports writer with the Detroit Free Press, primarily covering Michigan State football and basketball. While there, she also covered the 2004 Summer Olympics and NBA Playoffs.

6 p.m.
Receptions / Bar Opens

7 p.m.
Literary Lights Awards Program
Guests seated / Opening remarks
Hosted by John McCaa, WFAA-TV

7:45 p.m.
Presentation of Awards

8 p.m.
Literary Lights Dinner – Keynote Speaker: Lindy West
Moderator: John McCaa, WFAA
Hailed by Lena Dunham as an “essential (and hilarious) voice for women,” Lindy West is ferociously witty and outspoken, tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice and body image. Her empowering work, including her literary debut "SHRILL," has garnered a coast-to-coast audience. West has rocked readers and listeners in work published everywhere from The Guardian to GQ to This American Life. She is a catalyst for a national conversation in a world where not all stories are created equal and not everybody is treated with equal respect.

9 – 10 p.m.
Book signings

Sunday, July 22

9 – 9:50 a.m. – Session 1
Confronting Liars and Demagogues
Moderator: Gus Garcia-Roberts, investigative reporter, the Los Angeles Times

  • Evan Wright, author and contributor to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair
  • Jeff Guinn, author, “Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson”

9:55 – 10:45 a.m. - Session 2
Tools of a Breaking Narrative/Where to Find the Info You Need
Moderator: Ben Montgomery, enterprise reporter, the Tampa Bay Times and founder of the narrative journalism website, Gangrey.com

  • Avi Selk, general assignment reporter, The Washington Post
  • Manny Fernandez, Houston bureau chief, The New York Times
  • Naomi Martin, reporter, The Dallas Morning News


11:00 – 11:55 a.m.
Closing Keynote with Christopher Goffard: Telling the Truth About Evil Men
Moderator: Max Linsky, co-founder, Longform and Pineapple Street Media
Christopher Goffard is an author and a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. He is the writer and host of the podcast “Dirty John,” which has been downloaded more than 10 million times and spent a month atop the Apple podcast charts. Goffard shared in the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s Bell coverage and has twice been a Pulitzer finalist for feature writing, in 2007 and 2014. His novel “Snitch Jacket” was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel. His book “You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya,” based on his Times series, was published in 2011. His work appears regularly in the Best American Newspaper Narratives series.

12 p.m.
Wrap-up / closing remarks