We are proud to launch the year with Ann Patchett, the acclaimed author of Bel Canto, Commonwealth, and most recently, The Dutch House. A novelist and independent bookstore owner, Ann has earned countless literary awards and is considered to be one of the great writers of our time. Join us to hear about her storied career and what inspires her work.
Now in its fourth year, the Ruthann Eckstein Memorial Author Series honors the life of Ruthann Eckstein (of blessed memory), whose passion for literature and UJA knew no bounds.
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UJA is grateful to the Eckstein Family for underwriting this program, and for its continued support of UJA’s mission to improve the lives of those in need across the world.
ANN PATCHETT is the author of eight novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder Commonwealth, and The Dutch House, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction: Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy; What Now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College; and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays examining the theme of commitment. In 2019, she published her first children’s book, Lambslide, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Ann has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book Sense Book of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books andNew York Times best sellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.
In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes. She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores on NPR, The Colbert Report (including the series finale), Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, The Martha Stewart Show, and The CBS Early Show, among many others. Along with James Patterson, she was the honorary chair of World Book Night. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Ann lives in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
Natasha Eckstein, Ellen Kapito, Judy Lobel, Joyce Straus, and Alina Wattenberg
Chair, Vicki Warner
President, Sharon Shane
Chair, Laurie Girsky