Award-winning novelist Colson Whitehead to visit Notre Dame

September 26, 2023

Renowned author Colson Whitehead will visit the University of Notre Dame on Oct. 3 (Tuesday) to deliver the 2023 Rev. Bernie Clark, C.S.C., Lecture at 5:00 p.m. in the Patricia George Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. 

The annual lecture was created in 2009 in order to highlight justice issues and themes related to human dignity and the common good. John McGreevy, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University, will introduce Whitehead.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available starting one hour beforehand at the box office of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

“Whitehead is a perfect choice for the Bernie Clark Lecture,” said Suzanne Shanahan, Leo and Arlene Hawk Executive Director of the Center for Social Concerns. “Whether he’s writing about the renaming of a New England town founded by Black settlers, a Black community in the Hamptons in the 1980s, or Harlem in the ’60s and ’70s, Whitehead’s novels show us communities where some of the deepest questions of dignity and justice are playing out in ways that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, and always revealing.” 

Whitehead is the author of 11 books of fiction and non-fiction. His most recent works include “The Underground Railroad,” “The Nickel Boys,” “Harlem Shuffle” and “Crook Manifesto.”

“The Underground Railroad,” a novel published in summer 2016, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction and was No. 1 on The New York Times Bestseller list.

Based on events at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Florida, Whitehead’s novel “The Nickel Boys” was published in 2019 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Kirkus Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

Whitehead’s reviews, essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, A Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

In 2018, New York State named him their New York State Author, and in 2020 the Library of Congress awarded him their Prize for American Fiction.

This year’s lecture is cosponsored by the Catholic Social Tradition Minor; Department of Africana Studies; Department of American Studies; Department of Anthropology; Department of English; Department of Film, Television and Theatre; Department of History; Initiative on Race and Resilience; and the Office of the Provost.

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