The Once and Future Planet: Science Journalism in the 21st Century with Charles Mann ’76 and Elizabeth Kolbert
Host: Cullen Murphy ’74
Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her most recent book, The Sixth Extinction, received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2015. She is a two-time National Magazine Award winner, and has received a Heinz Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Academies communications award. Kolbert is a visiting fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College.
Charles C. Mann ’76’s most recent book is The Wizard and the Prophet. His previous books include 1493, a New York Times best-seller, and 1491, winner of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Keck award for the best book of the year. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Science and Wired, he has covered the intersection of science, technology and commerce for many newspapers and magazines here and abroad. In addition to 1491, he has co-written four other books, television scripts for HBO and Law and Order, and the texts for museum exhibits and Native American cultural centers. A graduate of Amherst College, he now lives, somewhat to his surprise, in Amherst, Mass.
Cullen Murphy ’74 is Editor at Large of The Atlantic, where he has spent most of his career, and a former Editor at Large of Vanity Fair. His most recent book is Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe, a memoir about the large cartoonist colony in Fairfield County, Connecticut. His other books include Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America and God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. For twenty-five years he collaborated with his father, the illustrator John Cullen Murphy, on the comic strip Prince Valiant. Murphy, who graduated from Amherst in 1974, was a longtime member of the College’s board of trustees and was the chair of the board from 2012 to 2018. He lives in Massachusetts.
Now in its fourth year, Amherst’s annual literary festival celebrates the College’s extraordinary literary life by bringing to campus distinguished authors and editors to share and discuss the pleasures and challenges of verbal expression—from fiction and nonfiction, to poetry and spoken-word performance.
This year’s festival features Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction author Elizabeth Kolbert, award-winning science writer Charles C. Mann ’76, and 2018 National Book Award for Fiction finalists Jamel Brinkley and Brandon Hobson, among others.