Elizabeth Strout

Leonard-Cendamo

Elizabeth Strout

Past Event: Monday, January 24, 2011

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

Sponsored by University Book Store

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, the bestsellers Abide With Me, The Burgess BoysMy Name is Lucy Barton, and the award-winning Amy and Isabelle, all set in New England, all exploring the twists and turns of family dynamics, small-town gossip, and experiences of love, loss, and grief.

Strout herself was raised in small towns in New Hampshire and Maine, and proudly holds New England roots that go back eight and ten generations, on either side. This upbringing, which Strout describes as “isolated (my parents were very, very, very strict),” informs her literary work. As soon as she learned to put pen to paper, her mother bought her notebooks and told her to transcribe all she saw, no matter how quotidian. During the summer months of her childhood she played outdoors, either with her brother, or, more often, alone, and this is where she developed her deep and abiding love of the physical world: the seaweed covered rocks along the coast of Maine, and the woods of New Hampshire with its hidden wildflowers. “I wanted to be a writer so much,” Strout says, “that the idea of failing at it was almost unbearable to me. I really didn’t tell people, as I grew older, that I wanted to be a writer.”

Strout is a careful writer who takes her time to craft polished, fascinating prose. Each book took more than seven years to complete and has earned her praise for characters that are “blunt, flawed and fascinating.” In a New York Times book review, Louisa Thomas writes: “The pleasure in reading Strout comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters. And there are moments in which slipping into a character’s viewpoint seems to involve the revelation of an emotion more powerful and interesting than simple fellow feeling–a complex, sometimes dark, sometimes life-sustaining dependency on others. There’s nothing mawkish or cheap here. There’s simply the honest recognition that we need to try to understand people, even if we can’t stand them.”

In addition to winning the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge, My Name is Lucy Barton (2016), The Burgess Boys (2013) Abide With Me (2006) were all national best sellers, and her debut novel Amy and Isabelle (1998) swept up both the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the M.F.A. program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.

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).

Parking
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.

Accessibility

All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Please contact us at sal@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.