The Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series is in its twenty-sixth year.
This series at Marygrove College is an annual event bringing a nationally-known author to our campus for a public lecture and seminar with students.
Fiction writer and journalist Andrea Lee will be the twenty-seventh guest in Marygrove’s Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. She will deliver the Lillian and Don Bauder Lecture at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2015.
Lee is the author of a memoir: Russian Journal (1981), two novels: Sarah Phillips (1993) and Lost Hearts in Italy (2006), and a collection of short stories: Interesting Women (2002). She is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and has been published in Vogue, Time, and the New York Times, among other publications. Russian Journal won a National Book Award nomination in 1981; Lee is also the recipient of the Jean Stein Award, granted by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1984.
An expatriate, Lee spans the globe in her work, taking readers from the Soviet Union to France, the United States, and Italy. Publisher’s Weekly proclaims Lee’s work is “infused with international glamour and a particular brand of American world-weariness.” Susan Richards Shreve writes, “Andrea Lee’s authority as a writer comes of an unstinting honesty and a style at once simple and yet luminous.”
Her work considers race both within national boundaries and beyond, providing a poignancy of perspective enriched by these border crossings. Veronica Chambers asserts that “in Lee’s work, there is the power of race, both when it is present and when it is not.” Indeed, Lee’s exploration of racial assimilation and privilege reveals the often fraught complexity of contemporary racial identity. Donna Seaman notes that Lee “deftly decodes the tricky dynamics of sexual, racial, and cultural trespass,” and observes that in her work, “each encounter is choreographed with the deadly elegance and precision of a fencing match.”
Lee earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Harvard University. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in Turin, Italy with her husband and two children.
It began when the late Frederick P. Currier, a former Marygrove College trustee, attended a reception on campus and remarked that he would like to bring a national writer to Marygrove for a weekend. Mr. Currier’s start-up check soon followed his suggestion, and in 1989 nearly 600 guests of the College heard Gloria Naylor inaugurate the series.
Since then, through the generous support of corporate donors, foundations, advertisers, friends, alumni, the Marygrove College Board of Trustees, and particularly S. Martin Taylor of DTE Energy, Dr. Lillian Bauder of MASCO Corporation, and the Lillian and Donald Bauder Endowment, we have been able to keep the Series free and accessible to the entire metropolitan Detroit community. To date, nearly 8,000 people have joined us at the Friday night public reading to hear outstanding writers share their work. The Friday evening reading/lecture is followed by a reception and book signing.
In addition to Andrea Lee, participants have heard the following critically acclaimed and prize-winning writers:
View all of the author profles here.
Over the life of the Series, hundreds of Marygrove students have completed courses in the visiting authors’ works, and nearly 100 Marygrove students have won Frederick P.Currier, Amy S. McCombs Writing Awards, a writing competition held in conjunction with the Series.