Season 24 of The Witte Lectures.

The Witte Lectures Committee will announce the 2021-2022 program season in September.

In 2021 Witte goes virtual via Zoom! Even in the face of a pandemic, the Witte Lecture Series remains steadfast in providing timely, relevant, and vibrant contemporary speakers. Be inspired by the artistry of cooking, political developments of historic magnitude, the societal price of addiction, and the power of art which can cross cultural divides. We offer you a seat at our virtual round table in the comfort of your own home as we present engaging topics during serious times.

The Witte Lectures 2020-21 Season included the following speakers. Go to “Archive” to view available recordings of the presentations.

Samin Nosrat

Salt Heat Fat Acid: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Friday, January 15, 6:19pm

Award-winning chef, author and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, Samin Nosrat shares her passion for good food and words with equal vigor. Nosrat’s bestselling book Salt Heat Fat Acid is also a Netflix hit series. Like the TV show, her vibrant personality will jump through the screen to us at home. Food is culture, as they say. We are hungry for comfort food and she delivers big time. Nosrat’s inspiring work fosters community and raises social and environmental awareness. We will also hear about her new book What to Cook Next published by Ten Speed Press.

Nosrat will be in conversation with Gillian Ferguson producer of Good Food on KCRW where she hosts “The Market Report.”

P.J. O’Rourke

A Time to Laugh!…….A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land
Friday, February 19, 6:19pm

Leading political satirist, best-selling author, and op-ed contributor to The Washington Post, P.J. O’Rourke, covers current events, combining the skill of an investigative reporter with a comedian’s sense of the absurd. Known as a hard-bitten, cigar-smoking conservative, he unabashedly bashes all political persuasions. Whether dealing with the inner workings of Washington or shifting political and economic sands of the new world disorder, O’Rourke proves to be a savvy guide to national and global affairs. His razor-sharp insights never fail to inform and entertain. With more than 1 million words of trenchant journalism under his byline and more citations in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O’Rourke has established himself as America’s premier political satirist. He has authored 20 books, including his latest, A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land (2020).

Sam Quinones

Dreamland – Opioids in America: Past, Present, and Future
Friday, March 12, 6:19pm

Sam Quinones’ book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (2015) won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was on a dozen Best Book of the Year lists. Why? The book struck a common chord. Quinones is a masterful storyteller and sought-after speaker who shares how the silent tragedy has impacted communities and families coast to coast. And what a tale . . . Dreamland is riveting. Quinones recounts how a pharmaceutical corporation promoted its legal opiate prescription painkiller as non-addictive and the rise of international drug trafficking. The collision of these two forces has led America into the deadliest drug scourge in modern times. Dreamland has also been adapted for a young adult audience, grades 8-12.

*Tickets purchased last spring for this event will be honored.

Shahzia Sikander

Beauty, Power, and Extraordinary Realities
Friday, April 16, 6:19pm

Pioneering Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander is one of the most influential artists working today. She is celebrated for her figurative painting, sculptures and installations inspired by traditional Persian miniatures. Sikander will discuss her latest artwork, exhibitions, and forthcoming book Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities (2021, Hirmer Publishers). We will learn how she expands and subverts traditional themes to explore cultural identity, gender, and other under-represented narratives. Sikander received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and was awarded the State Department Medal of Arts in 2012. Her work has been exhibited around the world including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Sydney; Irish Modern Museum of Art, Dublin; and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.

Sikander will be in conversation with Meg Linton, Chief Executive Officer, Newport Beach Public Library Foundation.


Friday, “doors” open at 6:19pm
Virtual Presentation followed by Q&A on Zoom


Tickets go on Sale Now

The Box Office closes at 3pm on the day of the event – Don’t Miss Out

General $35 per household // NBPLF Members receive 25% Discount
Opportunity to buy a signed copy of the presenters’ publications is made possible by Laguna Beach Books

Video Archive

Click here to watch videos from past lectures


Contact Director of Programs Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw or 949-717-3818.

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