Purchase College Announces Fall 2022 Durst Distinguished Lecture Series

Purchase College, SUNY, has announced that Nobel Prize-winning poet and essayist Louise Glück has been selected to serve as the Fall 2022 Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature. She will offer a reading and conversation on Wednesday, September 21 at 6pm. Later in the semester she will be in conversation with Professor Monica Ferrell via Zoom on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm. 


Glück’s appearances will serve as the centerpiece of the fall’s Durst Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings renowned writers to the Westchester community. Other highlighted events in the series include a reading and conversation with Hernan Diaz on Thursday October 6 at 6pm and a conversation between Reginald Dwayne Betts and Nicholas Dawidoff on Thursday, November 3 at 6pm.


Purchase College President, Milagros (Milly) Peña, said, “The 2022-23 academic year marks the 10th year that the Purchase College community is privileged to present the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series. I look forward to welcoming this year’s outstanding group of talented authors to Purchase College. Our students and engaged community members are so fortunate to be able to interact with these leading writers, whose work speaks to our times. We are sincerely grateful to the Durst family for their continued support.”


Anthony Domestico, an associate professor of Literature at Purchase and chair of the Literature Department, added, “The Durst Distinguished Lecture Series allows the Purchase community to hear from, and interact with, world-recognized writers and artists. We can’t wait for the conversations—about poetry and fiction, race and criminal justice— that the series will bring to our campus this fall.” 


Louise Glück, the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature will do a Reading and be in conversation on Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.


 Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, is the author of two collections of essays and thirteen books of poems, including most recently Winter Recipes from the Collective (2021). Her many awards include the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris, the National Book Award for Faithful and Virtuous Night, the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Triumph of Achilles, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poems 1962-2012, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and Stanford University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Hernan Diaz in the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series will do a Reading and be in conversation on Thursday, October 6, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Diaz is the author of two novels: In the Distance (2017), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions; and Trust (2022), which was recently longlisted for the Booker Prize. He is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim and a Whiting Award. He holds a PhD from NYU, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is the author of Borges, Between History of Eternity (2012).


Reginald Dwayne Betts and Nicholas Dawidoff in the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series will be in Conversation on Thursday, November 3, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.


Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and lawyer. A 2021 MacArthur Fellow, he is the Executive Director of Freedom Reads, a not-for-profit organization that installs Freedom Libraries in prisons across the United States. The author of a memoir, A Question of Freedom (2010), and three books of poetry, he has transformed his latest collection, the American Book Award-winning Felon (2019), into a solo theater show that explores the post-incarceration experience and lingering consequences of a criminal record.


Nicholas Dawidoff is the best-selling author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy (1994), which was adapted in a major motion picture; The Fly Swatter: A Portrait of an Exceptional Character (2002), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City, which will be published this October by W. W. Norton & Company. He has been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow and lives in Connecticut.


Louise Glück, the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature will be in Conversation with Professor Monica Ferrell on Thursday, November 10, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM (on Zoom). Monica Ferrell is Professor of Creative Writing at Purchase College as well as a novelist and poet. Her most recent collection of poetry, Your Darling Thing (2018), was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and Believer Book Award in Poetry. She will be in conversation with Louise Glück via Zoom.


As a small public college, Purchase is proud to introduce students to the level of expertise provided by the Durst Distinguished Lectures. Current and past Durst Lecturers have won an impressive array of the highest level of literary honors, including National Book Awards, MacArthur Foundation Grants, Pulitzer Prizes, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships, and Man Booker Prizes for Fiction.


The Durst Distinguished Lecture Series and the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature are funded by the Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature Endowment. The mission of the Durst programs is to infuse the experience and intellect of leading writers into the Purchase community, while providing diverse opportunities for these writers to interact with students and influence campus life.


All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Event details, including registration and location, can be found at purchase.edu/durst. 


For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.