Elizabeth Gilbert

photo credit Jennifer Schatten

Elizabeth Gilbert

Past Event: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Literary Arts Icon

Literary Arts

Co-Presented by Bing, The Seattle Times. Sponsored by BooksILove, KPLU 88.5 FM, KUOW 94.9 FM, Seattle Met, University Book Store.

Elizabeth Gilbert is an essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist and memoirist. Her memoir Eat, Pray, Love has been called “a generation’s instruction manual” (Toronto Sun). Exploding on to the scene in 2006, the bestseller has been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold over ten million copies worldwide.

There will not be a book signing for this event. However, there will be signed books of Big Magic for sale in the lobby.

Educated at New York University, Elizabeth Gilbert hails from an ascetic childhood in rural Connecticut. Fearless reporting skills and an abiding appreciation for working-class values have colored her writing from the beginning. Meanwhile, a persistent longing to understand the world and her place in it have made her not merely a writer, but an explorer. Gilbert worked in a Philadelphia diner, on a western ranch, and in a New York City bar to scrape together the funds to travel: “to create experiences to write about, gather landscapes and voices.”

Gilbert’s writing was published in Harper’s BazaarSpin, and The New York Times Magazine. Her work in Spin caught the attention of editors at GQ, and she became a stalwart at that publication. Gilbert was a Finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001.

Gilbert’s first book, a wide-ranging collection of short fiction called Pilgrims (1998), was a New York Times Most Notable Book and won the Ploughshares prize, among many other honors. Her first novel, Stern Men (2000), won the Kate Chopin Award in 2001. Her third book, The Last American Man (2002), which compellingly explores America’s long-standing intrigue with the pioneer lifestyle, was a Finalist for the National Book Award. For Gilbert, who built her journalism career writing for men’s magazines and creating powerful portraits of epic, unusual men, it is more than a little ironic to be dismissed by some critics as a writer of “chick lit.”

With Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert attracted an adoring international audience. In 2010, Eat, Pray,Love was made into a feature film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem—an experience Gilbert has called “surreal,” “amazing,” and “touching.”

In 2010, Gilbert published Committed: A Love Story, the breathlessly anticipated follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. Part memoir, part meditation on marriage as a sociohistorical institution, Committed tells the story of her unexpected plunge into a second marriage.

The Signature of All Things, her first novel in twelve years, published in 2013, is a sweeping story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The Washington Post described it as “that rare literary achievement: a big, panoramic novel about life and love that captures the idiom and tenor of its age,” and it has been optioned by MASTERPIECE on PBS. “When I read The Signature of All Things I saw that it had everything we look for in a MASTERPIECE: an appealing, complicated central character whose life is changed, emotionally and physically, in a rich story told by a masterful writer,” says Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “And it’s set in Amsterdam, London, Philadelphia and Tahiti!”

And now in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, (to be released in September) Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.

Gilbert lives in New Jersey, where she writes and owns an import store, Two Buttons, with her husband.

Selected Works
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015) – Forthcoming September 22
The Signature of All Things  (2013) – named one of the Best Books of the year by The New York TimesO Magazine, NPR and Time Magazine
Committed: A Love Story (2010) – A Number One New York Times Bestseller
Eat, Pray, Love (2006) – A New York Times Best Seller for over 200 weeks and American Booksellers Association Acclaimed Best Seller
The Last American Man (2002) – finalist for both the National Book Award and National Book Critics Award
Stern Men (2000) – The New York Times “Notable Book”
Pilgrims (1997) – Winner of the Pushcart Prize and finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award

Elizabeth Gilbert’s homepage
TED Talk: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating
Elizabeth Gilbert: The 7 books that shaped me as a writer
The New Yorker: Hitched Review
The ‘Stubborn Gladness’ of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Favorite Poet
Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write a Novel No One Expects

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


SAL is for everyone. We want all audience members to be able to experience our lectures and readings regardless of accessibility concerns. Accessibility services at our venues are provided at no cost to ticket holders. If you find you need to sit closer to the stage to accommodate your needs but find the cost of a Patron ticket prohibitive, then please contact us—we will seat you where you need to be, regardless of cost.

Open Captioning occurs at every event that takes place at Benaroya Hall. It is also always available upon request for all events in our other halls, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for Open Captioning services, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Assisted Listening Devices, including Hearing Loop Assisted Listening Systems, are available at all of our venues, with the exception of Broadway Performance Hall. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

ASL-Interpretated Events are always available upon request, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Wheelchair Accessible Ticketing is available in all sections at our venues, and and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

For any further questions or requests, or to offer Seattle Arts & Lectures feedback on how we can be more accessible and inclusive, please reach out to our Patron Services Manager at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.