Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson

For the acclaimed author Marilynne Robinson, religion is one of the most profound aspects of American life. As such, religious themes inform much of her fiction and nonfiction. She is currently completing a book on the Old Testament; her lectures this November will offer the Washington University community a glimpse of her thinking on the Hebrew Bible.

Sponsored by: Center for the Humanities; Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, John Danforth Center on Religion and Politics

Robinson will visit WashU Nov. 13-15 to deliver three linked talks for the Humanities Lecture Series. This year’s series theme is “Holy Moses: An Appreciation of Genesis and Exodus as Literature and Theology.”

The first, on Tues., Nov. 13 at 4:30 in Umrath Lounge, is also an Assembly Series presentation. For details regarding the two lectures that follow, visit

Robinson recently retired after 25 years of teaching at the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her long list of major awards includes a National Humanities Medal awarded by President Barack Obama in 2012 for “her grace and intelligence in writing;” the Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award in American Fiction, in 2016; the Dayton Peace Prize’s Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award; and South Korea’s Pak Kyong-ni Prize for her contribution to international literature, in 2013.

Her debut novel, “Housekeeping,” published in 1980, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for best first novel, and was included in “Time” magazine’s “100 Best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.” On the strength of that extraordinary novel, and at the urging of the novelist, Stanley Elkin, then Professor of English, Robinson was invited for a semester’s residency at Washington University as Visiting Hurst Professor.

More prestige followed with her second offering: “Gilead,” published in 2004, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The following novels, “Home,” published in 2008 and “Lila” in 2014, complete her Gilead trilogy.

Earlier this year, Robinson released her latest collection of essays, “What Are We Doing Here?.” Other nonfiction titles include “The Givenness of Things,” “When I Was a Child I Read Books,” “Absence of Mind,” “The Death of Adam,” and “Mother Country.”


The New York Review of Books: President Obama & Marilynne Robinson: A Conversation in Iowa

The New Yorker: The First Church of Marilynne Robinson

Time: Marilynne Robinson Being A Christian in Trump’s America