John Updike to Deliver NEH’s 2008 Jefferson Lecture

John Updike, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, author and critic, will deliver the 2008 Jefferson Lecture, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced this week. The annual NEH-sponsored Jefferson Lecture is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Updike will present the 37th annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on Thursday, May 22nd, at 7:30 pm at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. In “The Clarity of Things,” Updike will examine the connection between America’s art and its ideas by posing the question, “What is American about American art?” Updike’s lecture will complement the Endowment’s recently launched Picturing America initiative.

Picturing America is composed of forty works of art spanning several centuries, all by American painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects. Under the program, the NEH will distribute large, high-quality reproductions of these images, along with a teacher’s resource book, lesson plans, and materials, to schools and libraries nationwide.

John Updike was presented the National Humanities Medal by President Bush in 2003. He is one of the few Americans to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts, which he received in 1989.

Tickets to the lecture are free of charge and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket requests must be submitted by May 12th via the online form at NEH’s website.

All other inquiries, as well as ticket requests for persons lacking online access, may be directed to (202) 606-8446.