Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Williams Center for the Arts

A reception and book signing will follow in the lobby.  The lecture is open to the public and all are welcome.

New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean has been called “a national treasure” by The Washington Post. Her deeply moving explorations of American stories both familiar and obscure have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as “an exceptional essayist” (Publishers Weekly) and a writer who “approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and fairness” (Bookmarks).

Orlean is fascinated by tales of every stripe. From the everyday to the outlandish, she has an eye for the moving, the hilarious, and the surprising.  In The Orchid Thief—the national bestseller that inspired the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation—Orlean delved into the life of John Laroche, a charismatic schemer once convicted of trying to steal endangered orchids from a state preserve in southern Florida.  In 2011’s Rin Tin Tin, Orlean examined how the iconic German shepherd captured the world’s imagination and, nearly a century later, remains a fixture in American culture.

Her latest work is the instant New York Times bestseller The Library Book, an exploration of the history, power, and future of these endangered institutions. The Library Book is told through the lens of Orlean’s quest to solve a notorious cold case: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, ultimately destroying 400,000 books? The Library Book was named one of both The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018 and The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2018. In this year’s Hatfield Lecture, Orlean will discuss the art and craft of writing The Library Book, and how embracing ignorance can be a wise way of seeing the world. 

The Hatfield Lecture is made possible by the generosity of John L. Hatfield '67.

Sponsored by: 
Lafayette Libraries

Contact information

Anne Houston