2021 NYLA Conference & Trade Show | Keynote Speaker



Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of An American Family

Robert Kolker recounts how he plumbed libraries, universities, and exclusive archives around the country to learn the secrets of one extraordinary family for his tour de force HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, an Oprah’s Book Club selection that became an instant #1 New York Times best-seller and one of the most celebrated narrative books of 2020. 

Keynote Speaker: Robert Kolker

Robert Kolker is an award-winning journalist and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Hidden Valley Road. His acclaimed book tells the story of a family overcome with schizophrenia and the major advancements in our understanding of mental illness that was brought about by the family’s willingness to undergo research. The book has been on several Best Books of 2020 lists, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, and Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020. 

Before Hidden Valley Road, Kolker wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Lost Girls, which is now a Netflix film starring Amy Ryan. Named one of the Best True Crime Books of All Time according to TIME, Lost Girls delves into the perplexing, unsolved murders of five sex workers at the hands of the Long Island Serial Killer. The book was named one of the New York Times‘s 100 Notable Books and one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top Ten Books of 2013.

In his career as a journalist, Kolker’s reporting has stunned audiences with its profundity and impact. He is a National Magazine Award finalist and a recipient of the 2011 Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Kolker’s work has appeared in New York magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, O Magazine, and Men’s Journal.