Texas Tech University

Presidential Lecture & Performance Series Announces 14th Season

Amanda Castro-Crist

August 7, 2019

David Sedaris

NPR humorist and best-selling author David Sedaris will open the season, which runs from October to April, with a reading and book signing.

Best-selling author and NPR humorist David Sedaris will open the 14th season of Texas Tech University's Presidential Lecture & Performance Series (PLPS) at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 with a reading and lecture in the Allen Theatre of the Student Union Building (SUB).

Known for the wit, social critiques and satire in his personal essays and short stories, Sedaris has been called one of today's most observant writers addressing the human condition. His best-selling books, printed more than 10 million times and in 25 languages, include his latest, "Calypso," and "Barrel Fever," "Naked," "Me Talk Pretty One Day," "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" and "Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)."

Sedaris also has written a collection of fables with illustrations by Ian Falconer, "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary," and regular pieces for The New Yorker. He has been included twice in "The Best American Essays" and edited "Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories." In collaboration with his sister Amy Sedaris as "The Talent Family," he has written six plays that have been produced at La Mama, Lincoln Center and The Drama Department in New York City.

Since 2011, he can be heard on "Meet David Sedaris," a series of live recordings on BBC Radio 4. His latest recording of new stories is "David Sedaris: Live for Your Listening Pleasure" and his original pieces can often be heard on the public radio show "This American Life." He has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album. In 2018, he was awarded the Terry Southern Prize for Humor and the Medal for Spoken Language from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Sedaris will read from new and unpublished work; some material will include adult themes and language. A book signing and meet-and-greet session will follow the reading and lecture.

Other events planned for the PLPS this season are:


  • Royal Wood (Nov. 8): Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Royal Wood has established himself as a true musical talent and continues to evolve and hone his musical craft. He has earned multiple nominations from the Canadian music JUNO Awards, whose committee said Wood "continues to win each fan through the intimate connection only a truly great songwriter can make with his audience." Named the 2010 iTunes Songwriter of the Year, Wood jumps between guitar, piano and ukulele, and CBC music said he "brings class and craft to his pop-rock stylings, delivering them with a rich and resonant voice."
  • Steep Canyon Rangers (Feb. 7): As one of the most versatile bands in contemporary American music, Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers has spent nearly two decades bending and shaping the bluegrass aesthetic and combining it with elements of pop, country and folk rock. Since forming in 2000, the sextet has developed a catalogue of original music linking them to the past while also demonstrating an ambitious intent to bring string-based music into contemporary relevance and collaborating with actor and banjoist Steve Martin.
  • m-pact (March 27): Hailed as "one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles-based a cappella sextet m-pact is respected internationally as a cutting-edge trailblazer, using the raw power of nature's first instrument – the human voice. The group has performed with Sheryl Crow, Boyz II Men, Kenny G, Liza Minnelli, Babyface, Rick Springfield and Jackson Browne, and jazz legends Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bobby McFerrin and Take 6. Their signature sound has been used in TV themes and animated Disney feature films, and is enjoyed on syndicated radio worldwide.
  • Ranky Tanky (April 24): Charleston-based quintet Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut on Oct. 20, 2017. By December 2017, the group had been profiled on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album soared to the No. 1 position on the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts. Performing the music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the U.S., this band of native South Carolinians bring the soulful songs – from playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies – to life by mixing the low-country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B.

All events begin at 7 p.m. in the Allen Theatre. Single-event tickets ($20) and season tickets ($85) may be purchased by calling Select-A-Seat at (806) 770-2000 or visiting the Select-A-Seat website. Texas Tech students receive one free ticket with a valid Texas Tech ID one month prior to each event at the East information desk in the SUB. Tickets are $15 for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members with a valid OLLI ID.