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a photo of Susan Orlean, by Noah Fecks, and the cover of The Library Book

Susan Orlean

This event is part of the CALS Speaker Series. All RSVP tickets have been reserved; if any seats become available, they will be offered to individuals on the waitlist.

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).

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. Orlean will adapt The Library Book for a forthcoming television series with Paramount TV.

“After reading Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, I’m quite sure I’ll never look at libraries, or librarians, the same way again. This is classic Orlean—an exploration of a devastating fire becomes a journey through a world of infinite richness, populated with unexpected characters doing unexpected things, with unexpected passion.”
—Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake

Orlean is currently Rogers Communications Chair in Literary Journalism at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. She is also the host, with actress Sarah Thyre, of the podcast Crybabies, a series of candid conversations with creative guests about the books, music, TV, and movies that make them cry.

Orlean’s lectures are marked by the same wit and vivacity that have made her writing such a success. She speaks on her books, her encounters with extraordinary people, her experiences traveling the world, the value of ignorance, and women and the media. A book signing will follow her address.


Date and Time

September 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


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