In a nine-day period, these celebrated figures gave public lectures:

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
John Jameson ’04/Office of Communications

By the time I was 15, I knew I wanted to be in show business, but there was a problem: I had no gifts. But I had the element necessary to all early creativity — naiveté — that keeps you from knowing how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.

Comedian, writer, and actor Steve Martin, who addressed a capacity audience Dec. 8 in McCosh 50. His lecture was titled “Stand Up: My Rise and Collapse.”

Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw
Sameer Khan/Fotobuddy

In a democratic society, it’s unjust to have only 1 percent take the bullets for us. It’s not only unjust, but immoral.

Tom Brokaw, broadcast journalist and author, who spoke on “The Time of Our Lives” Dec. 6 in Richardson Auditorium. Brokaw added that ­during the two longest wars in U.S. history, ­“nothing was asked of the rest of us ... if we so chose, we didn’t even have to think about ­those wars.”

John Irving
John Irving
Frank Wojciechowski

Usually, when I finish a book, there are four or five other books I’m thinking of. ... Sometimes those books in the back of my mind have been there for 10 or 12 years or more. I choose the next book because I know the most about the ending ... and I have to know the voice.

Novelist John Irving, speaking Nov. 30 in McCosh 50 about writing his new novel, In One Person, to be ­published later this year.