Wallace Shawn is an Obie Award-winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor. In his beautiful essays -- one of which he will read in this panel -- Shawn takes readers on a revelatory journey through high art, war, politics, culture, and privilege. Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the ѓ??unobtrusives,ѓ?ќ the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattanѓ??s cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life. With his distinctive humor and insight, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to undertandѓ??and change it. For the paperback edition of his critically acclaimed nonfiction book Essays, published by Haymarket Books, Shawn has written a provocative and moving philosophical discussion titled "Why I Call Myself a Socialist." Shawn will read his essay and engage in a lively discussion with audience members who attend.