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Summer Literary Series: Talking Trees with Author Richard Powers

Schedule and Location

Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Arbor Room, Thornhill Education Center

Don’t miss the first book in the series, Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit on August 29.

Fees and Registration

$16.00 member
$20.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course Description

Join Richard Powers, critically acclaimed author of The Overstory, which received the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for a compelling talk on the powerful connections that exist between people and trees.

Powers will talk about the process of writing The Overstory, with its detailed scientific and historical context and a rich web of characters followed across decades and states, including the community of Wheaton, Illinois.

Then, after reading a favorite passage from the book, Powers will sit down with an Arboretum scientist for a conversation about trees, their power to transform, and what compels people to take action to protect them.

Copies of The Overstory will be available for purchase at the event. Don’t miss this chance to have your copy signed by the author.

About Richard Powers

Born in Evanston and a graduate of the University of Illinois, Powers was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1989 and has published 12 novels.  Named in 1996 to Illinois’s endowed Swanlund Chair in English and appointed to the Center for Advanced Study (1999), Powers is the recipient of a National Book Award (2006) and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2019) for The Overstory. Powers continues to write, teach, and travel.

About The Overstory

The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. (from www.richardpowers.net)

“Autumn makes me think of leaves, which makes me think of trees, which makes me think of The Overstory, the best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period.” —Ann Patchett

“This book is beyond special. Richard Powers manages to turn trees into vivid and engaging characters, something that indigenous people have done for eons but that modern literature has rarely if ever even attempted. It’s not just a completely absorbing, even overwhelming book; it’s a kind of breakthrough in the ways we think about and understand the world around us, at a moment when that is desperately needed.” —Bill McKibben

Course number



Richard Powers

Course Details

Summer Literary Series: Talking Trees with Author Richard Powers


Offered in partnership with the Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST), a not-for-profit organization that seeks to enhance understanding and appreciation of science and technology and their impact on society. Learn more at C2ST.org