Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters

Each year, the RAI hosts the annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters, the centrepiece of the university’s American literary calendar. Made possible by the generosity of Esmond V. Harmsworth, the lecture has drawn some of America’s leading novelists, poets, playwrights and literary critics to the Institute.

The 2018 lecture will by given by the poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine; the 2019 lecture will be given by Deborah Triesman, the fiction editor of The New Yorker.

The lecture has been given by:

2017 – Hilton Als: I Don't Remember
2016 – Lydia Davis: Learning Norwegian
2015 – Jennifer Egan: Experimental Fiction: Confessions of a Reluctant Practitioner
2014 – Claire Messud: Kant’s Little East Prussian Head, and Other Reasons why we Write
2013 – David Auburn: Theater in the Age of Twitter
Audio (MP3)
2012 – Sabina Murray: Bouncing Across the Plank: Politics, History and Literary Imagination
2011 – Marilynne Robinson: Where are we? What are we doing here? Night Thoughts of a Baffled Humanist
Audio (MP3)
2010 – C. K. Williams: A Life in Poems
Audio (MP3)
2009 – Christopher Bigsby: Arthur Miller: Un-American
Video (YouTube)
2008 – Lorrie Moore: Random Things One Can Learn from a Visiting Writer
2007 – Robert Venturi: Architecture as Paradox within the Urban Complex
2006 – Tobias Wolff: Craftsmanship
2005 – Joyce Carol Oates: The Faith of the Writer
2004 – Richard Ford: The Things That Help, The Things That Hurt: A Memoir

Esmond Harmsworth Lecture 2017
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