2nd Annual Eudora Welty Lecture: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Please join us on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 to hear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie deliver the second annual Eudora Welty Lecture at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. Tickets are on sale now to the general public.

This lecture is hosted as a partnership between the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation, and is a featured part of the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series each year. The Eudora Welty Lecture is open to the public and is an important and unique addition to Washington, D.C.’s literary culture. The lecturers are chosen from the most prominent writers working in the English language today. Each lecturer presents an original talk on the topic of their creative origins, and receives a $20,000 honorarium.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the most celebrated writers of her generation. She earned international attention for her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), a Nigerian coming-of-age story about a teenage girl growing up in a privileged household in a nation plagued by poverty and political strife. A review in the Boston Globe noted that “Adichie’s understanding of a young girl’s heart is so acute that her story ultimately rises above its setting and makes her little part of Nigeria seem as close and vivid as Eudora Welty’s Mississippi.”

Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and Ms. Adichie’s second book, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), won the Orange Prize (now the Bailey’s Women’s Prize), the world’s top prize for female writers. Ms. Adichie received a US National Book Critics Circle Award for her best-selling 2013 novel Americanah. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and is read around the world. The TED Talk she delivered in 2009 on “The Danger of A Single Story” is one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time; her 2012 TED Talk, “We Should All Be Feminists,” has inspired conversations about feminism around the world, and was published as a book of the same name in 2014. Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017. She has previously received a Hodder fellowship from Princeton University, a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University, and a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be introduced by W. Ralph Eubanks. W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past, which in 2003 Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Wall Street Journal, WIRED, the New Yorker, and National Public Radio. He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a Bernard Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia and served as director of publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 2013. Currently Eubanks is a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Click for information about the first Eudora Welty Lecture, delivered by Salman Rushdie in October 2016.

Eudora Welty is the author of such acclaimed works as The Optimist’s DaughterDelta Wedding, and the short story collection A Curtain of Green. Her many honors include the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award for Fiction, and the Gold Medal for the Novel, given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters for her complete works in fiction.

The Eudora Welty Lecture is inspired by the lectures Welty delivered at Harvard University in 1983 as part of the William E. Massey Sr. series. Over three lectures (Listening, Learning to See, and Finding a Voice), Welty surveyed her life as a writer and detailed the inextricable bonds between her upbringing in Jackson, Mississippi and her remarkable literary voice.

Speaking at Harvard, she said, “The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily—perhaps not possibly—chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.”

The Eudora Welty Lecture is made possible by the generous contributions of Martha Dowd Dalrymple in memory of her mother, Adine Wallace Dalrymple, and her grandmother, Adine Lampton Wallace, and also by the family of Eudora Welty in her memory.