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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 11:42 pm | Fair 53º


UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Speaking With Pico Series Features Author Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean
Susan Orlean

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present bestselling author Susan Orlean in a talk with Pico Iyer at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at UCSB Campbell Hall.

The conversation, which is part of is part of A&L's Speaking With Pico series, will be marked by the same wit, humanity and vivacity that make Orlean one of America's freshest literary treasures.

Orlean is the author of such books as The Library Book (her latest), and The Orchid Thief, which inspired the critically acclaimed film Adaptation.

Orlean's writings reveal her eye for the moving, the hilarious and the surprising, from the everyday to the outlandish.

Books by both Orlean and Pico will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Chaucer's Books.

Orlean is considered "a national treasure," according to The Washington Post. Her moving and humorous 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 more than 20 years, and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as "an exceptional essayist" by Publishers Weekly and as a writer who "approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and fairness" by Bookmarks.

Her book The Orchid Thief would lead to Meryl Streep's Academy Award-winning performance as the character of Susan Orlean in the film Adaptation.

Rin Tin Tin, which explores the life and legacy of the iconic German shepherd, tells the story of how an orphaned puppy became one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood.

The Library Book, which was just announced as an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist. is a quest to solve a notorious cold case: Who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, destroying 400,000 books?

The Library Book is a love letter to a beloved institution, and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. Released in October 2018, the book explores the history, power and future of these endangered institutions.

It was named a Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book of 2018.

Brimming with Orlean's signature wit, insight, compassion and talent for research, The Library Book is a thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books, and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind and soul of our country.

It is also a master journalist's reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

In a career spanning more than three decades, Orlean has also written for Outside, Esquire and The Boston Globe. She is the author of Saturday Night, a portrait of the varying experience of Saturday night in dozens of communities across the U.S.

Entertainment Weekly concluded, "I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday night than staying home and reading this book."

Orlean has served as an editor for Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing, and her journalism has been compiled into two collections: The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People and My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere.

Orlean's work has inspired two successful films: Blue Crush, the story of young women surfing in Maui; and Adaptation, the metafilm directed by Spike Jonze. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Orlean in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award, as were costars Nicholas Cage and Chris Cooper and writer Charlie Kaufman.

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 talkss with guests about the books, music, TV and movies that make them cry.

For more, visit www.susanorlean.com.

Iyer is the author of two novels and 13 works of nonfiction; his books have been translated into 23 languages. He has also written the introductions to more than 60 other works as well as liner notes for Leonard Cohen and a screenplay for Miramax.

He is currently Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and he will be releasing three new books in 2019, including Autumn Light, in April, and A Beginner’s Guide to Japan, in the fall. He recently gave three talks for TED in three years; they have received more than 8 million views so far.

Susan Orlean in conversation with Pico Iyer is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures in association with the UCSB Writing Program. Speaking with Pico Series Sponsors: Martha Gabbert and Laura Shelburne and Kevin O'Connor. Media Sponsor: Pacific Standard.

Tickets are $20-$35 for the general public, $10 for UCSB students with a valid ID.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures, 805-893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

UCSB Arts & Lectures acknowledges its Community Partners the Natalie Orfalea Foundation & Lou Buglioli and Corporate Season Sponsor SAGE Publishing for their support of the 2018-19 season.    

— Caitlin O'Hara for UCSB Arts & Lectures.


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