Colm Tóibín in conversation with UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks, introduced by Cherilyn Parsons, festival founder and director
In 2014, Colm Tóibín, author of "Nora Webster," "The Master," "Brooklyn," and many other books, delivered the Arthur Miller “Freedom to Write” address that caps each year’s PEN World Voices Festival. Chancellor Dirks leads a university that launched the Free Speech movement and is ranked the top public university in the world. In this conversation, they explore why intellectual and creative liberty matters so much and where we need to agitate today.
Nicholas B. Dirks
Nicholas B. Dirks is Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to Berkeley, he served as Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at Columbia University, where, in addition to his work on behalf of undergraduate programs, he improved and diversified the faculty, putting special emphasis on interdisciplinary and international initiatives. He also served as chair of the anthropology department at Columbia. Prior to his appointment at Columbia, he was a professor of history and anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of several books on South Asian history and culture and the impact of British colonial rule, including "The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom," "Castes of Mind," and "Scandal of Empire." He published a new volume of essays on a wide range of topics in his latest book, "Autobiography of an Archive." His current projects concern the last years of British rule in India and the growing role of the United States in South Asia, as well as the global and technological environment for higher education in the century ahead. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.
Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and The Testament of Mary, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, he is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.