Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gifford Lecture Series 2010-2011 Speakers Announced

The Friends of the Central Library announced the speakers for next season’s Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series after Richard Russo’s talk last night. They include:

Michael Pollan
Pollan is best known for writing books and articles about food, agriculture, drugs, gardens and architecture; he is the author of “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.”

W.S. Merwin
Merwin, a poet and translator, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and has won the National Book Award.

Elizabeth Strout
The author won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “Olive Kitteridge.” She is a Syracuse University alumna.

Rick Steves
TV host and author Steves has written more than 30 books about European travel.

Alice Hoffman
Hoffman has been called “America’s literary heir to the Brothers Grimm.” Her work includes “Here on Earth,” “Practical Magic’’ and “Blackbird House.”

David Baldacci
With more than 90 million copies in print, best-selling author Baldacci is the author of 18 novels, nine screenplays and a novella and is an advocate for literacy programs nationwide.

It looks like a good line-up to me! I'm especially excited about Michael Pollan and Elizabeth Strout, and will be seeking recommendations for the others. This is the series I've been attending with my book club and writing about here. My friends are only lukewarm on the new schedule - I hope they'll want to resubscribe. My report on Richard Russo's talk will be coming later this week.


  1. Wow, what a line up. If you get a chance make sure to see W.S.Merwin. He is one of my favorite poets and a marvel to hear read, tho getting rather long in the tooth.

  2. Fantastic - lucky you having the opportunity to go and see those people! I'd want to see Elizabeth Strout.

  3. What a great opportunity! There are some really great people on this list.

  4. I think it is marvelous that you have an opportunity to attend this lecture series. Really great lineup. I would love to hear all of them.

  5. I am green, not from St. Pat's Day, but with envy. What a wonderful list of authors. Merwin is the only one I'm not familiar with. I'd love to hear them all. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what they have to say.

  6. Gavin - I was glad to see a poet scheduled - don't think I've read poetry since high school and this gives me the incentive! They mentioned last night that Merwin is in his 80's now.

    Verity - I've read a couple of Strout's books already and Olive Kitteridge was a favorite last year. Will read her others now.

    Jo - I think it's wonderful that a city the size of Syracuse can run a program like this. We are very fortunate!

    Kay - I've attended a few lectures over the years, but this is the first time I've gotten season tickets. It's been great for my book club (6 built-in selections) and I love hearing the authors talk!

    Margot - This is a great way to discover new authors. Pete Hamill was totally unfamiliar to me when I first read his name on last year's roster, but two of his books ended up on my list of favorites!

  7. How exciting! Elizabeth Strout, definitely, and I love Rick Steves. What a great line-up to look forward to.

  8. Geesh...I'm so envious of you right now!! this lineup sounds terrific. There are a few that I've not heard of but even so, I'm sure they will be interesting!!!

  9. Book Psmith - Do you know I'm not at all familiar with Rick Steves?? Will have to address that before lecture time...

    Staci - The unfamiliar ones can turn out to be the most pleasant surprises! I'd never heard of Pete Hamill before his named appeared on the list of speakers, but then two of his books made it to my 'best of' list for 2009!

  10. I suppose you know by now that English authors are my favourite but that list of authors would have even me coming out for a listen! Alice Hoffman would be especially interesting, I really enjoyed Blackbird House. It makes me smile when I keep putting it out on the 'staff picks' display and it disappears quickly.

  11. Darlene - I just looked up Blackbird House and it sounds fabulous! This will be where I start with Hoffman. Thank you.


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