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2020 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecturer

Terry Tempest Williams

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
6:30 p.m.
Mandell Theater

Free Tickets Available March 2

Terry Tempest Williams

On April 22, 2020, Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences will proudly welcome its 2020 Distinguished Lecturer, Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist, author and advocate for free speech. Her Earth-Day lecture, “Finding Beauty in a Broken World: From Erosion to an Ethic of Place,” will address how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice.

Taking the question, “What might a different kind of power look like, feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably even beyond our own species?”, Williams will explore what it is to be a “citizen writer,” the role of the humanities in environmentalism, and issues of healthy ecosystems and local economies. The audience is invited to talk with Williams in Q&A that follows.

About Terry Tempest Williams

Often called “a citizen writer,” Terry Tempest Williams is a writer and advocate whose work brings together lyrical prose, advocacy and politics. She is an award-winning author of numerous books, including the environmental literature classic, “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place;” “An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field;” “The Open Space of Democracy;” “Finding Beauty in a Broken World,” and “Erosion: Essays of Undoing.” Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change.

Her book, “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks,” which pays tribute to the centennial of the National Park Service, was a New York Times bestseller, and also won the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association’s 2016 Reading the West Book Award. Williams is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction, and is also currently writer-in-residence at Harvard Divinity School.

Like her writing, Williams cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses, and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda. In 2006, she received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award, given by the Center of the American West. In 2009, Terry Tempest Williams was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS series on the national parks. In 2014, on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Williams received the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation. Williams also received the 2017 Audubon New York Award for Environmental Writing. In 2019, Terry Tempest Williams was awarded The Robert Kirsch Award, a lifetime achievement prize given to a writer with a substantial connection to the American West, and was also elected as a member into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

About the Distinguished Lecture Series

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available Monday, March 2, 2020.

Williams will join the growing list of accomplished CoAS distinguished lecturers, which includes author Sir Salman Rushdie, media maven Arianna Huffington, neuroscientist David Eagleman, religion scholar and author Reza Aslan, designer and urban planner Candy Chang, award-winning novelist Zadie Smith, biologist Robert Sapolsky, PhD, podcast host and creator Jad Abumrad, and the creator and host of “Fresh Air,” Terry Gross.

Please direct any inquiries regarding the event to Jennifer Yusin at jyusin@drexel.edu.