Barack Obama has just released “A Promised Land,” the first volume of a memoir chronicling his presidency. On Monday, Nov. 23 the former president will sit down with Washington Post opinions columnist Michele Norris and Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for an in-depth, live interview.

As early readers of his manuscript, Norris and Alexander will ask Obama to share his approach to writing and the cultural and literary influences in his life. They will also discuss the impact of his historic presidency and how he views the country today.

Highlights

Former president Barack Obama praised Antony Blinken, who President-elect Joe Biden selected to be his secretary of state, as “outstanding” and a “skilled diplomat, well regarded around the world.” (Washington Post Live)
Former president Barack Obama says he will do what he's asked to do to help the Democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate run-off, "I think it's a huge, critically important election...I will do what I am asked to do in terms of being helpful. At the end of the day that is going to be determined by the people of Georgia." (Washington Post Live)
AstraZeneca on Monday became the third pharmaceutical company to announce a highly efficacious covid-19 vaccine. Former president Barack Obama says distribution of a vaccine will be a "logistical," "economic" and "public messaging" challenge," adding that challenge “has not been made easier by the fact that we've had an incoherent federal communication strategy." (Washington Post Live)
Former president Barack Obama said he doesn’t think seeing his policies be interrogated or erased by the current administration affected him while writing “A Promised Land.” “I had already internalized and understood what his presidency was going to do and what he stood for…If anything, what probably influenced the book...might have been a growing sense of optimism based on what happened this summer in the wake of the George Floyd murder." (Washington Post Live)
Former president Barack Obama says he’s open about the mistakes and gaffes he's made because it’s important that young people know that it's OK to make mistakes. “I’m just not afraid of much, I've been knocked down a bunch of times...But I'm still here. I'm okay, and that's a hard thing to internalize in your 20s and 30s." (Washington Post Live)

Barack Obama’s Literary List

In this Washington Post Live interview with opinions columnist Michele Norris and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander, former president Barack Obama talked about his new memoir “A Promised Land,” his role as a writer and the literary and political influence of various writers and books. We wanted to share them with you:

“Song of Solomon” - Toni Morrison

“The Fire Next Time” - James Baldwin

“On the Road” - Jack Kerouac

“Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth” - Mohandas K. Gandhi

Shakespeare’s Tragedies

Guest

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States, elected in November 2008 and holding office for two terms. He is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and the New York Times bestselling author of Dreams from My Father, The Audacity of Hope, and A Promised Land. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Michelle. They have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.