Joan Didion Opens Atkinson Series at Willamette

Joan DidionNovelist, essayist and screenwriter Joan Didion will deliver the fall 2006 Atkinson Lecture at Willamette University Friday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. in Smith Auditorium.

Tickets for University students, faculty and staff are available Oct. 16 at the University Center. The first ticket is free with a University ID, and subsequent tickets are $10. Tickets for the general public are $10 and will be available at the University Center on campus beginning Oct. 26.

In May 2005 Didion received the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which is the highest honor the academy awards to a writer and is given once every six years. She was awarded the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal and the 1999 Columbia Journalism Award. In 2005 she won the National Book Award for The Year of Magical Thinking, which is now in its 20th printing.

Didion's novels include Run River (1963), Play It as It Lays (1970), A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984), and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Her nonfiction includes Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), The White Album (1978), Salvador (1983), Miami (1987), After Henry (1992), Political Fictions (2001), and Where I Was From (2003).

Didion and her late husband, John Gregory Dunne, co-authored the screenplays The Panic in Needle Park (1971), Play It as It Lays (1973), A Star Is Born (1977), True Confessions (1982), Hills Like White Elephants (1990) and Up Close and Personal (1995). She has lectured at colleges and universities across the country including the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Bard, Yale and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Didion currently lives in New York and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. Her latest book, The Year of Magical Thinking, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2005. She is now adapting the book for Broadway.

She was born in Sacramento and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley.