Writer Andrew Solomon visited Northwestern campus Tuesday evening to give a lecture about his novel Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Books Critics Circle for non-fiction.
"An Evening with Andrew Solomon," co-presented by The Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities and the Family Action Network, drew a near-full house audience to Cahn Auditorium. The evening began with an introduction by Kaplan Institute Director Wendy L. Wall, who mentioned how Solomon wrote with “candor and eloquence” about real narrative of parents and children with disabilities. She also described his book as an exploration of disability, loss. . .and an affirmation of love.&rdquo
Solomon began speaking after a four-minute-long video of interviews of parents and children — people from the book — who discuss their difficulties and joys. He drew parallels between disease and gayness to explain how something once universally regarded negatively as an illness can later evolve neutrally into identity. “We live in a time of extraordinary social progress,” Solomon said, before further discussing the potential to reduce social stigma around physical and mental conditions.
The audience frequently laughed at Solomon's stories and gave him a standing ovation following his speech. The event concluded with a Q&A session and a book signing.