Celebrating 18 years of the Nick Linn Lecture Series!
2021 Lecture Series
Ann Patchett is a celebrated author, devoted reader, and a champion of literacy culture. She has written thirteen books and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
In 2011, when the last of Nashville’s bookstores had been shuttered, Ann declared “I have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.” And so, in November of that year she opened Parnassus Books and has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers. In 2012, TIME named Ann one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for her efforts on behalf of the literary community. Writing of her friend on the occasion of that event, novelist Elizabeth Gilbert described Ann as “a woman of wisdom, determination, generosity and courage.”
Ann published her first story in The Paris Review while still a student at Sarah Lawrence College. Her novel, Bel Canto, was awarded the Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. The world-renowned Lyric Opera Company of Chicago commissioned a production based on the novel that The Chicago Tribune called “a thought-provoking production worthy of a world-class opera company.” In 2016, Ann released her seventh novel, Commonwealth; It was selected as a New York Times Best Book of the Year, a TIME Magazine Top 10 Selection, and was a NBCC Award Finalist. In 2019, she published her first children’s book, Lambslide, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Her newest novel, The Dutch House, was also released in 2019 and received high praise. NPR writes, “…you won’t want to put down this engrossing, warmhearted book even after you’ve read the last page.”
Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White
Beatriz Williams is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Summer Wives, A Hundred Summers, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Certain Age, and The Golden Hour. A native of Seattle, she graduated from Stanford University and earned an MBA in finance from Columbia University, then spent several years in New York and London as a corporate strategy consultant before pursuing her passion for historical fiction. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.
Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Summer Country, The Ashford Affair, That Summer, The Other Daughter, and The English Wife as well as the RITA Award winning Pink Carnation series. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, kindergartner, toddler, and vast quantities of coffee.
Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’ – Southern women’s fiction – and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. She is a graduate of the American School in London and has a BS in Management from Tulane University. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She has two grown children and currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two spoiled Havanese dogs.
Erik Larson is a master of narrative non-fiction. His vividly written, bestselling books have won several awards and been published worldwide. His book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, is about the 1915 sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania. Dead Wake was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. His book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, is a vivid portrait of the American ambassador and his family in Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign from which Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative. His critically-acclaimed book, The Devil in the White City, intertwines the stories of the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair and one of America’s worst serial killers. It remained on the New York Times bestseller lists for a combined total of over six years, won an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing, and was nominated for the National Book Award. In 2020 the New York Public Library voted The Devil in the White City one of the 125 most important books of the last 125 years. His new book is a biography of Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister titled The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During The Blitz (Crown Publishing Group, February 25, 2020).
In his 2006 bestseller, Thunderstruck, Larson chronicles the strange intersection in the careers of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless, and Hawley Harvey Crippen, England’s second most-famous murderer (after Jack the Ripper). His book, Isaac’s Storm, about the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the birth of modern American meteorology, became an immediate New York Times bestseller, and won the American Meteorology Society’s prestigious Louis J. Battan Author’s Award. The Washington Post called it the “Jaws’ of hurricane yarns.” Among his other books are Lethal Passage about the 1988 school shooting in Virginia and America’s gun culture, and The Naked Consumer, about the ever-increasing amount of private information consumers lose to corporations and other business interests.
Erik Larson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Russian history, language and culture. He also received a master’s degree in journalism from Colombia University. After a brief stint at the Bucks County Courier Times, Larson became a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later a contributing writer for Time magazine. He has written articles for The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and other publications. He has taught nonfiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the University of Oregon.
J. A. Jance
J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker family, as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington.