Elizabeth Gilbert

photo credit Jennifer Schatten

Elizabeth Gilbert

Past Event: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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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.

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. For digital streams of online events, all pre-recorded and live online events will have either open or closed captioning.

Assistive 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 interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. 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. 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. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

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 boxoffice@lectures.org, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to lectures.org/accessibility. If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.