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Atlantic Festival 2023: Kerry Washington and Jake Tapper Are Among This Year’s Headliners

The annual ideas forum will feature Nancy Pelosi, Jake Sullivan, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among many others.

Freestyle Love Supreme performs at the Atlantic Festival in 2022. Photograph by Carl Timpone, courtesy the Atlantic Festival.

The Atlantic Festival, the magazine’s annual ideas forum, will feature Nancy Pelosi, Jake Sullivan, and Kerry Washington, among other live interviewees. The festival, now in its second year at the Wharf, will take place on September 28 and September 29.

The slate of political, cultural, and media figures announced Wednesday includes author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, Pennsylvania Governor Joshua Shapiro, and Utah Governor Spencer Cox. The lineup also includes Lonnie G. Bunch III, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; and Russell Moore, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.

“The event pulls together great minds that don’t think alike,” says Candace Montgomery, general manager of AtlanticLIVE, the company’s events business. “The program that we put together is a reflection of conversations with people who we think are shaping the world from a bunch of different arenas and perspectives.”

This is not Pelosi’s first time at the Atlantic Festival. She spoke with Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg in 2019, hours before announcing the first impeachment probe against Donald Trump. National security adviser Sullivan also spoke with Goldberg live that year at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington, the Emmy-winning Scandal actress and activist, has campaigned for Democratic candidates and spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The Atlantic’s writers and editors—including Goldberg and writers Tim Alberta, Caitlin Dickerson, and McKay Coppins—will lead the interviews. Arthur C. Brooks, the magazine’s How to Build a Life columnist, will host a special session on happiness with author Cheryl Strayed and psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.

Arena Stage will be the festival’s main event space, but interviews will take place at several other venues around the Wharf. The 166-year-old magazine moved its Washington office from the Watergate to the booming Southwest waterfront district last year.

Ticket prices are more accessible than in years past. All-access passes start at $200 for in-person attendance. Student and educator tickets go for $25, and virtual tickets, available for some interviews, will be free with registration. Event details and passes can be found on the Atlantic Festival website.

Ike Allen
Assistant Editor