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FOCL Press Releases

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March 17, 2010

Friends of the Central Library Announce
2010-2011 Season

For Immediate Release

Syracuse, NY – The Friends of the Central Library announced the 2010-2011 Season of the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series at the conclusion of the Richard Russo lecture on Tuesday, March 16.  “We’ve been so excited to make this announcement,” said Denise Headd, FOCL Program Director.  “We are thrilled with the line up we have to offer next season.”  All lectures will be held at the Civic Center and begin promptly at 7:30 pm. 

Authors for the 2010-2011 Season include:


Michael Pollan - head shotMichael Pollan is best known for writing books and articles about food, agriculture, drugs, gardens, and architecture.  His interests lie in “where the human and natural worlds intersect.”  He is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World.  His articles can be seen in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gardens Illustrated, and House & Garden.  The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5, 2010. 


ws merwin headshotW. S. Merwin is a poet and translator.  He has become one of the most widely read poets in America.  Merwin began his writing career at the age of five writing hymns for his father, a Presbyterian minister.  As a young man he traveled through Europe and fell in love with words and language leading him to find work as a literary translator.  During his career he met and got to know Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Adrienne Rich.  In 1999 he was named Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress for a jointly held position with poets Rita Dove and Louise Gluck.  He is the recipient of the Golden Wreath, an international poetry award, and the 2004 Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is a two time Pulitzer Prize winner, and has won the National Book Award, the Tanning Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.  The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9, 2010. 


Elizabeth Strout - head shotPulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is the third author in the 2010-2011 Season.  She received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Olive Kitteridge, a collection of 13 stories all linked to a local, retired teacher named Olive Kitteridge.  She has also written Abide with Me and Amy and Isabelle.  Among several literary awards Strout has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.   Strout is a member of the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, December 21, 2010. 

Rick Steves - headshotTelevision host and author Rick Steves is best known for his public television show Rick Steves’ Europe, and his best-selling European travel guide books.  Steves teaches fellow travelers to become “temporary locals” when visiting foreign countries, and teaches us how to travel for a fraction of the cost.  He is one of public television’s top pledge drive hosts, and raises millions of dollars annually for stations across the US.  Steves is the author of 30 + European guidebooks, 12 country guidebooks, nine city and regional guides, six phrase books, and is the co-author of Europe 101: History and Art for Travelers.  When asked if he was interested in participating in the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series Steves was excited as he has never traveled to Syracuse, NY.  The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, 2011. 

Alice Hoffman - head shotAlice Hoffman has been called “America’s literary heir to the Brothers Grimm”.  Her everyday fables are a favorite of her readers.  Hoffman can make the ordinary extraordinary as she writes about life’s common struggles including relationships, intimacy, family, identity, love, and basic survival.  Some of Hoffman’s titles include Here on Earth, Practical Magic, Blackbird House, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, The Ice Queen, and Skylight Confessions.  She is also the author of several children’s books and young adult titles.  Her novels have been recognized by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine.  Her books are well loved among book groups across the nation.  The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, 2011. 

David Baldacci - head shotBest-selling author David Baldacci will conclude the 2010-2011 Season of the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series.  Baldacci is the author of 18 novels, nine screenplays, and a novella for the Dutch entitled, Office Hours.  All of his books have been national and international bestsellers with over 90 million copies in print worldwide.  Baldacci is the author of Absolute Power, Total Control, The Winner, Last Man Standing, The Camel Club, The Collectors, Simple Genius, and Divine Justice, in addition to several others.  Baldacci is personally involved in numerous philanthropic efforts including his family’s own Wish You Well Foundation, established by Baldacci and his wife, supporting family literacy in the United States through the development of new and existing literacy and educational programs.  Baldacci partly accepted his offer to participate in the Gifford Lecture Series because Syracuse is well known for its literacy efforts.  The lecture will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. 

Proceeds of the Gifford Lecture Series are donated to the Central Library to fund programming and to purchase books and materials.  Tickets are sold through the Oncenter Box Office at 435-2121.  For questions related to the series, subscriptions, or general questions about the lecture series check us out at www.giffordlectureseries.org or call FOCL Program Director, Denise Headd at 435-1832.   



Last updated: December 9, 2010