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Virtual FAN Event with Maggie Smith is on December 6

December 1, 2023  9:40 CT


Maggie Smith and Rainesford Stauffer
Maggie Smith and Rainesford Stauffer
(image from


“On Ambition,” a conversation between Maggie Smith and Rainesford Stauffer, will be held on Wednesday, December 6, beginning at 7:00pm via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public, suitable for ages 12 and up. Registration is required.


What does it mean to own one’s ambition? What does it take to reimagine how we strive, amid burnout, pressure, and profound shifts across one’s career, life, and wants?


Join Maggie Smith (FAN ’20), poet and New York Times bestselling author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful, and Rainesford Stauffer (FAN ’21), journalist and author of All the Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive, for a conversation on ambition. From norms of ambition that deem some “too ambitious,” to what kind of ambition and work are celebrated, this conversation will focus on how ambition plays out across personal, professional, and creative lives – how we shape it, and how it shapes us. Over the course of their discussion, Smith and Stauffer will explore ambition, work, and identity, and how those themes come through in their work.


Smith’s other books include Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Best American Poetry, and more.


Stauffer is an author, journalist, speaker, and Kentuckian. She’s the Work in Progress columnist for Teen Vogue and wrote a column for Catapult and Gold Stars. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Scalawag, DAME Magazine, Vox, and other publications. She is the author of An Ordinary Age and is a 2022-2023 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism.


The December 6 event will be recorded and available on FAN’s website and YouTube channel. For more information, including a list of sponsors for the event, visit the Family Action Network website.