The annual DeMott lecture, a welcome address for incoming students, will be held on Sunday, September 1, at 4 p.m. in Johnson Chapel, and will be given by Min Jin Lee. The DeMott lecture is open to first year students.
Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018), the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-2019) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2000). Her novel Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. A New York Times Bestseller, Pachinko was also a Top 10 Books of the Year for BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the New York Public Library. Pachinko was a selection for “Now Read This,” the joint book club of PBS NewsHour and The New York Times. It was on over 75 best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS and CNN. Pachinko will be translated into 29 languages. In 2019, Apple ordered to series a television adaptation of Pachinko, and President Barack Obama selected Pachinko for his recommended reading list, calling it, “a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, USA Today and a national bestseller. In 2019, Free Food for Millionaires was a finalist for One Book, One New York, a city-wide reading program. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, TheGuardian, Conde Nast Traveler, The Times of London and Wall Street Journal. She served three consecutive seasons as a Morning Forum columnist of the Chosun Ilbo of South Korea. In 2018, Lee was named as an Adweek Creative 100 for being one of the “10 Writers and Editors Who are Changing the National Conversation” and a Frederick Douglass 200. In 2018, Lee was inducted in the Bronx High School of Science Hall of Fame, and in 2019, she was inducted in the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College. She serves as a trustee of PEN America and as a director of the Authors Guild.
The DeMott Lecture was established in 2005 by Alan P. Levenstein ’56 in honor of Benjamin DeMott, a legendary and much-loved member of the Amherst English faculty from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. The DeMott Lecture seeks to expose incoming students to an engagement with the world marked by originality of thought coupled with direct social action, and to inspire intellectual participation in issues of social and economic inequality, racial and gender bias and political activism.
Additional information about Professor Benjamin DeMott and previous DeMott lectures, including last year’s talk by Danielle Allen, is available via the link below.