Marilynne Robinson to deliver 2016 Noble Lecture

March 25, 2016
Marilynne Robinson

Award-winning American author Marilynne Robinson will deliver the upcoming 2016 Noble Lecture on Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. with a talk entitled "The Divine." Matthew Potts, Assistant Professor of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School will give the introduction. 

Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for “her grace and intelligence in writing.” She is the author of Lila, a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Award.

Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Robinson’s nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country, which was nominated for a National Book Award.  She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Iowa City.

Co-sponsored by the Memorial Church of Harvard University and Harvard Book Store, a reception and book signing will immediately follow the April 4th lecture in the Memorial Room of the church. Books will also be available for purchase. The event is free and open to the public, doors will open at 6:15 p.m. 

The day before the lecture, on Sunday, April 3 at 9:30 a.m., Michelle C. Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Theology at Harvard Divinity School will speak on the relationship of Marilynne Robinson’s writing and John Calvin at the regularly scheduled Faith & Life Forum, which will be held in the Pusey Room of the church.

Read her conversation (Part 1 & Part 2) with President Obama in the New York Review of Books from this past November.


The William Belden Noble Lectures were established in 1898 by Nannie Yulee Noble in memory of her husband. According to the terms of the bequest: “The object of the Founder of the Lectures is to continue the mission of her husband, whose supreme desire was to extend the influence of Jesus as ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,’ and to illustrate and enforce the words of Jesus — ‘I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.’ The Founder has in view the presentation of the personality of Jesus as given in the New Testament, or unfolded in the history of the Christian Church, or illustrated in the inward experience of His followers, or as the inspiration to Christian Missions for the conversion of the world. The scope of the Lectures is believed to be as wide as the highest interests of humanity.”

See also: Announcements