Head shot of 2023 Schlueter Lecturer Michael DirdaAuthor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post’s Book World Michael Dirda will be visiting the Lafayette campus Nov. 15 to deliver the 15th annual Paul and June Schlueter Lecture in the Art and History of the Book

During his lecture, titled “The Washington Post Book World: From the Last Days of Typewriters and Linotype Machines to the Contemporary Digital Era,” Dirda will not only share stories from his decades-long career at The Washington Post—first as an editor, then as a weekly reviewer—but also answer questions from the audience about any aspect of literary journalism. The event is free and open to the public, and registration is not required.

The Schlueter Lecture series is sponsored by the Lafayette College Libraries and endowed by a generous gift from Paul and June Schlueter.

“Michael Dirda’s voice is among the most influential in the book world,” says June, Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of English and former provost. “Having followed his book reviews in The Washington Post, Paul and I have come to admire his disciplined mind, quick wit, and sympathetic but no-nonsense approach to the work of both veteran and first-time authors. We are looking forward to meeting him.”

Paul shares that he is particularly looking forward to Dirda’s lecture, as he too had a long career not only as a Doris Lessing scholar, but also as a reviewer of books, classical music concerts, and theater. Over the years, he has published book reviews in such publications as Chicago Sun-Times and Daily News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Tribune, Denver Post, and local Lehigh Valley newspapers. 

Dirda was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1993. In addition to writing his weekly book column, he is a contributor to The New York Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement, and many other periodicals. Dirda also is author of the memoir An Open Book and of four collections of essays: Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book, and Classics for Pleasure. He was born in Lorain, Ohio, graduated with highest honors in English from Oberlin College, and received a Ph.D. in comparative literature (medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University.

Established in 2007, the annual Schlueter Lecture series has provided an opportunity to study books as objects and artifacts. It covers topics associated with the history, production, collection, preservation, and culture of books in all formats and from all time periods. Over the course of their 48 years of marriage, Paul and June have filled their shelves with some 50,000 books, most in literature and the humanities.

Attend the Lecture

  • The 2023 Schlueter Lecture by Michael Dirda will be free and open to the public. The talk will be delivered Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Gendebien Room in Skillman Library (206). Registration is not required. For those who cannot attend the event in person, a recording of the lecture will be available on the Lafayette College Library website. The libraries strive to make their events as accessible as possible. If you have any accessibility questions, please email lat.group@lafayette.edu.
Categorized in: Campus life, Community, Featured News, Lectures, Lectures-Discussions, News and Features