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Novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson will receive an honorary degree from the College of the Holy Cross and address this year’s graduates during the College’s Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 27 at 10:30 a.m. on the campus.

The author of three highly acclaimed novels, Robinson has distinguished herself as one of the nation’s most important and influential writers. Interested in the search for meaning and value in life, her work explores themes of faith, forgiveness, hope, and relationships.

Since the publication of her first novel, Housekeeping, in 1980, which earned her the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award for First Fiction, the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, Robinson has been honored with many of the publishing industry’s most prestigious awards. Her novel Gilead, the story of an Iowa preacher, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novel, Home, a companion to Gilead, won the 2008 L.A. Times Book Prize for fiction and the 2009 Orange Prize for fiction.

In 1990, Robinson received a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, and in 1998, she earned the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts.

Robinson is also the author of three books of nonfiction, The Death of Adam, Absence of Mind, and Mother Country, an exposé of the environmental damage caused by a nuclear reprocessing plant that was a finalist for the 1989 National Book Award.

A faculty member at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Robinson has also taught at the University of Kent in England, the University of Massachusetts and at Amherst College.

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Worcester, Massacusetts


College of the Holy Cross, graduation


Arts and Humanities | Higher Education

2011 Commencement Address:  Marilynne Robinson



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