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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Jul 12, 2021

Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you’ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that you’ve thought “they’ll never understand” or “do I really want to bring that up?” or “it’s not going to go well, so why even try?” The founder and host of WNYC’s popular podcast Death, Sex & Money presented her case for discussing the tough topics that all of us encounter in conversation with author and fellow hard-talk-haver Angela Garbes.

Sale used the best of what she’s learned from her podcast—and has collected in her book Let’s Talk About Hard Things—to argue that when we have the courage to talk about hard things, we learn about ourselves, others, and the world that we make together. Through the lens of five of the most fraught conversation topics—death, sex, money, family, and identity—she moved between memoir, fascinating stories of Americans opening up about their lives, and expert opinions to show why having tough conversations is important. She shared thoughts on how to do them in a thoughtful and generous way. Anna revealed why she believes that listening may be the most important part of a tough conversation, that the end goal should be understanding without the pressure of reconciliation, and that there are some things that words can’t fix (and why that’s actually okay). With a personal touch, Sale offered a profound meditation on why communication can connect us instead of divide us, and how we can all do better.

Anna Sale is the creator and host of Death, Sex & Money, the podcast from WYNC Studios, where she’s been doing interviews about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more” since 2014. Before that, she covered politics for public radio for years. She’s contributed to Fresh Air and This American Life.

Angela Garbes is the author of Like a Mother, an NPR Best Book of 2018 and finalist for the Washington State Book Award for Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York, The Cut, Bon Appetit, and featured on NPR’s Fresh Air. She also cohosts The Double Shift, an acclaimed podcast that questions the status quo of motherhood in America. She lives with her family on Beacon Hill.

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