Lauren Schiller (left) in conversation with Ruth Whippman at last year’s Uncharted Ideas Festival. Their conversation launches KALW’s Uncharted Radio Hour this year. Photo: Kelly Owen

Berkeleyside’s fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas kicks off in just over three weeks — two days of unscripted, provocative and yes, uncharted, conversations with people you may not know today, but you will be sure to hear about again as they make their mark on the world.  As a reader put it recently when checking out this year’s lineup: “This is a festival not of ‘A’ list celebrities you’re supposed to be impressed by, but of really interesting people, working on really interesting issues, from a wide variety of perspectives. No wonder you’re excited about it!”

Speakers this year include: Gideon’s Promise founder Jon Rapping; “class cluelessness” scourge Joan Williams; historian and New Yorker writer Allyson Hobbs; ICU physician Jessica Zitter; Silicon Valley historian Leslie Berlin; South Sudanese refugee Bandak Lul; feminist economist Heather Boushey; and ACLU counsel Alan Schlosser.

Starting tonight at 7 p.m., Uncharted partner KALW at 91.7 on the FM dial, is airing the first of three Uncharted Radio Hours — each hour features two conversations from last year’s festival. If you haven’t attended Uncharted before, listening in offers a chance to get a taste of what’s in store on Oct. 27-28 in downtown Berkeley. (You can also listen to podcasts of more than 20 Uncharted conversations.)

Tonight’s show features Ruth Whippman, author of America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks, in conversation with Inflection Point host Lauren Schiller; and, in the second half, Uncharted founder Lance Knobel talks to Scott Budnick in what may have been the most powerful discussion of 2016. Budnick, executive producer of the blockbuster The Hangover movies, founded the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which provides a support network for formerly incarcerated men and women and advocates for fairer criminal justice policies.

Two other Uncharted Radio Hour shows to tune in to: on Thursday, Oct. 12, former New York Times deputy technology editor Quentin Hardy chats with synthetic genome pioneer Andrew Hessel, and Peter Leyden, founder and CEO, Reinvent, talks with UCSF’s Robert Wachter about the frontiers of digital medicine.

The third show airs on Thursday, Oct. 19, features Cory Fields, Stanford sociologist and author of Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans, talking with Leyden; and  Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at NYU and author of Frying the Circuits, Political Journalism in the Age of Trump, in conversation with veteran Washington journalist Kathy Kiely.

Read more about the Uncharted Festival, and in particular what co-curators Lance Knobel and Helena Brantley have to say about this year’s program and what they are trying to achieve with the festival, in an East Bay Times story published this week.

Uncharted co-curators Lance Knobel and Helena Brantley. Photo: Kelly Sullivan

Berkeleyside would like to thank the following partners for their support of the Uncharted Festival: Levi Strauss Foundation / Panoramic Interests / DeYoe Wealth Management / Bregante + Company / North Berkeley Investment Partners / Jetton Construction / 2000 Center Street Mechanics Bank / McCutcheon Construction / JCC East Bay / BAMPFA / Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of AnthropologyHotel Shattuck Plaza / Diablo Magazine /KALW / Mother Jones. Uncharted is BARTable.

Follow Uncharted Festival on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram #BerkeleyIdeas — Listen to past Uncharted conversations on the Uncharted podcast.

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Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email