1. The danger of a single story: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.
2. The clues to a great story: Andrew Stanton
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.
3. Tales of passion: Isabel Allende
Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism — and, of course, passion — in this talk. Her novels and memoirs, including The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna, tell the stories of women and men who live with passionate commitment — to love, to their world, to an ideal.
4. The mystery box: J.J. Abrams
Writer, director and producer – J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Lost, Star Trek and the upcoming Star Wars VII — back to its magical beginnings. He makes smart, addictive dramas like TV’s Lost, and films like Cloverfield and the new Star Trek.
5. The politics of fiction: Elif Shafak
Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics. Elif Shafak explicitly defies definition — her writing blends East and West, feminism and tradition, the local and the global, Sufism and rationalism, creating one of today’s most unique voices in literature.
6. The visual magic of comics: Scott McCloud
Scott McCloud is author of Understanding Comics, a comic book about comics. He’s an evangelist for comics as a valid literary form (as more than pulp and kids’ stuff) and his admiring fans include a laundry list of superstar cartoonists.
In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, he bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.
7. Sarah Kay: If I Should Have a Daughter:
In a touching, inspiring talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011, a passionate poetess starts by reciting a beautiful poem about the things she would tell her daughter about the world if she had one, She goes on to explain her journey through life, and tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E.