Anthony Doerr

Libby Lewis Photography

Anthony Doerr

Past Event: Wednesday, November 18, 2015

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Literary Arts Icon

Literary Arts

Co-Presented by The Seattle Times. Sponsored by KPLU 88.5 FM, KUOW 94.9 FM, Seattle Met, Stoel Rives LLP, and Tom Douglas Seatown Restaurants.

Since the publication in 2002 of his first story collection, The Shell Collector, Anthony Doerr has been lauded for his lyricism, his precise attention to the physical world and his gift for metaphor. Tamara Straus, a reviewer for The San Francisco Chronicle, characterized Doerr’s literary ancestry as a combination of “Henry David Thoreau (for his pantheistic passions) and Gabriel García Márquez (for his crystal-cut prose and dreamy magic realism).”

The title of Mr. Doerr’s talk will be “The Beautiful Art of Failure.” 

There will not be a book signing for this event. However, Doerr’s books will be for sale in the lobby.

In Doerr’s most recent novel, All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the 2015 Pultizer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller, the celebrated prose stylist brings his keen naturalist’s eye and his empathetic engagement with humanity’s largest questions to the parallel stories of Marie, a blind girl living in occupied France, and Werner, a German orphan whose extraordinary mechanical abilities earn him a place among the Nazi elite.

Nature is also an important theme in Doerr’s novel About Grace, the story of a scientist who flees the country after having a premonition that he causes the accidental death of his baby daughter.

Doerr’s memoir Four Seasons in Rome is a carefully observed account of the year he spent as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, accompanied by his wife and infant twin sons.

His second story collection, Memory Wall, features characters from all over the world who are grappling with issues of preservation and extinction, permanence and evanescence.

All The Light We Cannot See was on over a dozen year-end lists, including Barnes & Noble,, NPR’s Fresh Air, Entertainment Weekly, the Guardian, Kirkus, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor. Doerr’s fiction has been translated into over thirty languages, and is anthologized in The Best American Short StoriesThe Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He was notified that he won the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters on the day his wife gave birth to newborn twins. He has won the Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he now lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.


Selected Works
All the Light We Cannot See (2014) — 2015 Pulitzer Prize, Finalist for thNational Book Award, 2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, NYTimes Bestseller
Memory Wall (2010) — winner of Pacific Northwest Book Award and a NYTimes Notable Book
Four Seasons in Rome (2007)
About Grace (2004)
The Shell Collector (2002)

Anthony Doerr’s homepage
Anthony Doerr on All the Light We Cannot See
Goodreads Interview with Anthony Doerr
Fiction Writers Review: Prayer, Inquiry, Memory: An Interview with Anthony Doerr
The Washington Post: Review: ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ by Anthony Doerr

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.

By Car

  • 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 I-5 via Westbound I-90
    Take the 2C exit for I-5 North. Follow signs for Madison Street/Convention Place and merge right onto Seventh Avenue. Turn left onto Madison Street. Proceed three blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue four 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.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)
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 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.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2019/20 Season.

Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Guide and service dogs are also welcome. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. A unisex restroom is also available. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive.  Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Thursday from 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Fridays from 10:00am – 1:00pm, at 206.621.2230×10.