Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series

The Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series brings nationally-known scholars concerned with promoting culture through the humanities and a better understanding of the problems of democracy to ASU. This annual free public lecture is funded with a gift from Jonathan and Maxine Marshall.

2020 Lecture

A conversation with Colson Whitehead and Solmaz Sharif

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

3:30 PM MST



Watch livestream event

About the Speakers

Colson Whitehead
Whitehead is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad (an Oprah’s Book Club selection and winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize), The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. He was named New York’s 11th State Author in 2018. His newest book, The Nickel Boys, was released in July 2019. His reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for John Henry Days.

Solmaz Sharif
Sharif is an assistant professor in ASU’s Department of English. She was born in Istanbul to Iranian parents and holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Granta and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and an NEA fellowship. She was most recently selected to receive a 2016 Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. A former Stegner Fellow, she is currently a lecturer at Stanford University. Her first poetry collection, “Look,” was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Past lectures

Year Lecturer Title
2018 Claudia Rankine Award-winning author
2017 Roger Cohen The Disunited States: Trump and the Fracturing of America
2016 Amy Goodman Host and executive producer of Democracy Now!
2015 Jane Smiley Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, essayist and biographer
2014 Charles Blow Visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times
2013 David Walsh Chief sports writer of the British newspaper The Sunday Times
2012 Russ Feingold Former senator, public speaker, educator.
2011 Nikki Giovanni World-renowned poet, activist and educator
2010 Kerry Kennedy International human rights advocate and author
2009 Heather Rae Award-winning Cherokee film director and producer
2008 Calvin Trillin Humorist, journalist and author
2007 Robin Wright Acclaimed journalist
2006 Jon Meacham Managing Editor of Newsweek
2005 Seymour Hersh Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
2004 Paul Krugman Professor, Economist, Author and New York Times Columnist
2003-cancelled Wendy Wasserstein Playwright
2002 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Senior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
2001-cancelled Martha Nussbaum Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago
2000 Baruch Blumberg Director, NASA's Astrobiology Institute
1998 Martin Marty Director, Public Religion Project, University of Chicago School of Divinity
1997 Daniel Goldhagen Author, “Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust”
1997 Arthur Caplan Director, Center of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
President, American Association of Bioethics
1996 Doris Kearns Goodwin Pulitzer Prize winning historian
1995 Lester Brown Founder, WorldWatch Institute
1994 Thomas Wicker Former editorial columnist, The New York Times
1993 Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Pulitzer Prize winning historian