Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for The New Yorker and bestselling author of The Tipping Point, and Mark Kingwell, a writer and philosophy professor, both studied at the University of Toronto - where the latter now teaches - in the mid-1980s. Though their paths rarely crossed (Mr. Gladwell says their only encounter happened when Mr. Kingwell was editor of U of T's paper: "I tried to write for the Varsity and was rebuffed"), they will meet again on campus at the hall where they graduated, to discuss social change.
At this fundraiser for the Canadian Journalism Foundation and Massey College, Mr. Gladwell, who is gearing up for the November release of his next book (tentatively titled Outliers), will draw a parallel to his most recent article in The New Yorker, a piece on how great ideas surface at roughly the same time. "Inventions, they happen in groups. They tend to, two or three people, invent at roughly the same time," he says on his cellphone from New York, as cars honk in the background. "I'm going to wonder, 'Is the same thing true with social change?' "
Mr. Kingwell, on the other hand, will ask if social change can really be defined. "To demand the answer is the wrong thing to do. Talking about answers is so much hot air. We need to ask, 'What do we want? What kind of society do we want to be a part of?' " he says.
"It's about trying to come to grips with this massive subject. I hope people can leave motivated to change their lives and change the world."
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. $10 to $200. Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, 31 King's College Circle. 416-978-8849. http://www.wellwell.ca.