The series “55 Voices for Democracy” is modeled after the BBC radio speeches through which Thomas Mann, from his home in California, turned to listeners in Germany, Switzerland, and occupied Netherlands and Czechia during the war. From 1940 until November 1945, Thomas Mann pleaded to thousands of listeners to resist the Nazi regime and thus became the most important German voice in exile. In this election year, Thomas Mann’s conviction that the “social renewal of democracy” is condition and warrant for its victory seems more relevant than ever.

“55 Voices for Democracy”  is an initiative launched by the Thomas Mann House in October 2019. With the new podcast series, Los Angeles Review of Books, Thomas Mann House, Goethe-Institute Boston, the Goethe Pop Up Seattle, and WunderbarTogether expand the successful series. Tom Zoellner and his co-hosts engage in a vivid conversation with intellectuals, artists, and activists about the question of how to renew democracy today. 

Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is a (pop) culture and food journalist based in Berlin. Her work has appeared in a number of regional, national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, tipBerlinIntro MagazineSpex and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt Universität Berlin.

Amal Khaled (co-host) is the Director of Wunderbar Together, a collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Goethe-Institut, dedicated to promoting the robust relationship between Germany and the US. Currently based in Washington, DC, Amal was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and pursued her MA degree in Intercultural Communication at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. 

Tom Lutz (producer) is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, the founding editor in chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, founder of The LARB Radio Hour, The LARB Quarterly Journal, The LARB Publishing Workshop, and LARB Books. He is the author of nine books for academic and trade presses and winner of the American Book Award.

The episodes will be available on this page starting October 20, 2020.

A collaboration with Thomas Mann House, Goethe-Institut Boston, Goethe Pop Up Seattle, Wunderbar Together, and Los Angeles Review of Books.






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