CORVALLIS, Ore. – Award-winning poet and New York Times best-selling memoirist Mary Karr will talk about alcoholism, recovery and the art of memoir on April 13 as part of the Provost’s Lecture Series at Oregon State University.

Karr, the Jesse Truesdell Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, is the author of the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirsThe Liars’ Club,” “Cherry” and “Lit.” Her latest books are “The Art of Memoir,” which debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times Bestseller List, and a book for graduates based on her 2015 Syracuse commencement speech, “Now Go Out There (and Get Curious).”

“We are very pleased to welcome award-winning author and poet Mary Karr to Oregon State University,” said Edward Feser, OSU provost and executive vice president. “Mary Karr is an extraordinary writer whose vivid memoirs and poetry engage readers through very personal storytelling. Dr. Karr’s works and the perspectives she’ll share during her visit to Oregon State will provoke us to think differently about challenges in life, family and friendships.”

The free lecture, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will be held remotely via Zoom. It’s titled “Lit: Alcoholism, Recovery and the Art of Memoir.” Following her talk, Karr will join Elena Passarello, associate professor in OSU’s School of Writing, Literature, and Film, for a moderated question-and-answer discussion. Registration for Karr’s lecture is required. For more information and to register, click here.

The Provost’s Lecture Series is a partnership of the Office of the Provost and the OSU Foundation to bring renowned thinkers, writers, scientists, artists and leaders to Oregon State to engage the community on topics of global significance. Recent speakers in the Provost’s Lecture Series include David Eagleman, Ibram X. Kendi, Mae Jemison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and W. Kamau Bell.

“The Liars' Club” won prizes for best first nonfiction from PEN America, the Texas Institute for Letters, and was a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Awards. It chronicled Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood and was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year. “Cherry,” her account of a psychedelic adolescence and a moving sexual coming-of-age, followed “The Liars’ Club” as another best seller. “Lit” answers the question asked by thousands of fans: How did Karr make it out of that toxic upbringing to tell her own tale?

Her poetry grants include The Whiting Writer's Award, an NEA, a Radcliffe Bunting Fellowship and a Guggenheim. She has won prizes from Best American Poetry as well as Pushcart Prizes for both poetry and essays. Her four volumes of poetry are “Sinners Welcome,” “Viper Rum,” “The Devil's Tour” and “Abacus.”

Karr also recently added songwriter to her pedigree with the release of “Kin: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell.”

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 34,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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