Evan Balkan

Booking Request


Towson, MD, US
Author, Screenwriter, Professor of Literature & Creative Writing
Read More

Photos & Videos

Event Booking

Travel Fees
Contact for details
Event Types
Contact for details
Contact for details
Contact for details
Contact for details

How it works

Simplify the process of booking a speaker or expert for your event
Find a Speaker
Discover and choose from our
renowned speakers
Submit a Booking Request
Fill out a few quick details
Finalize Agreement
Manage your bookings and
events in one place


The Ten Sins of Travel Writing
1 hr

“Travel writing” still conjures up images of intrepid writers being sent across the globe to report on “undiscovered gems” or, more mundanely, a particular location’s top hotels. In fact, travel writing—when done well—can be great literature and not just an accounting of a place’s top draws. The award-winning travel writer Tom Swick writes that “a travel story, in the right hands, can have the narrative flow of a short story, the substance of a history lesson, the discursiveness of an essay, the elegance of poetry, and the—often inadvertent— self-revelation of a memoir.” This lecture will illuminate the ten places travel writers go wrong in failing to do the above and, more importantly, emphasizing the necessary ingredients for making memorable writing. Using published examples to illustrate where good travel writers go right, this session will give attendees specific tools and a good sense of how to turn their observations and experiences of a place into great literature.

Who was Lope de Aguirre, aka “The Wrath of God"?
1 hr

2011 marked the 450th anniversary of one of the most extraordinary and least known events in the history of the Americas: Lope de Aguirre’s bloodstained march through northern Venezuela and Peru. Werner Herzog’s 1972 movie The Wrath of God presented a portrait of the 19th century Basque conquistador as an untethered madman. The reality is far more nuanced and complex. Delivered by the author of the only English language historiobiography of Lope de Aguirre, this lecture will focus on who Aguirre really was and present the argument that Aguirre's historical representation as a one-dimensional madman deserves revisiting. Indeed, Aguirre may be the Americas’ first true revolutionary, a view shared by Simón Bolívar, among others.

Five Blues Artists You May Never Have Heard Of
1 hr

Five Essential Blues Artists You May Never Have Heard Of. The country blues that emanated primarily from the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s laid the groundwork for a uniquely indigenous American music that ultimately had a profound effect on culture all over the world. Without the blues, there is no jazz, no rock and roll (and no subsequent British Invasion), no hip-hop. Many casual observers know the names Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and others. This discussion first briefly traces the evolution of country blues to electrified Chicago Blues and the birth of rock and roll but takes a close look at five underappreciated masters of the craft: King Solomon Hill, Skip James, Tommy Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, and Geeshie Wiley.

Deadly Adventures and Disasters at Sea
1 hr

Shipwrecked! Deadly Adventures and Disasters at Sea: Since the first humans gazed across bodies of water, the urge to set out and discover what lay across the horizon has been unquenchable. But any voyage of discovery carried innumerable risks. Shipwrecks happened, and the results often laid bare the most extraordinary aspects of the human character. This discussion explores some of the most astonishing shipwrecks between the 16th and 20th centuries, covering tales of cannibalism, slavery on foreign shores, disorder, endurance, and, ultimately, tales of survival that boggle the imagination, providing a heady voyage through human suffering at the hands of unforgiving oceans, cruel captains, and implacable fate.

Vanished! Explorers Forever Lost
1 hr

Vanished! Explorers Forever Lost: Some adventures end in glory, others in obituaries. Instead of receiving laurels and a parade, some adventurers ultimately set out on a road with no return. Immerse yourself in these gripping accounts of explorers who ventured forth and then simply disappeared. Their fates? We’ll never know. Whether murder, sabotage, or just plain bad luck, these are true tales of adventure gone bad. Covered are the well known, such as Amelia Earhart and David Rockefeller, but no less gripping are the tales of Glen and Bessie Hyde, who disappeared on the Colorado River, or Johnny Waterman, vanished on the slopes of Mount Denali.