Author to visit campus for common-reading program

Aug. 27, 2009

Michael Pollan, whose book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" is the focus of the Go Big Read common-reading project, will give a free public talk on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The talk, to be held at 7 p.m., is sponsored by UW-Madison's Center for the Humanities as part of its public lecture series, Humanities Without Boundaries. No tickets are needed to attend, and the doors open at 6 p.m.

"The book is relevant to all of us who each day make decisions about what to eat, and it will generate exciting, cross-disciplinary conversations about where our food comes from — and where it should come from," says Sara Guyer, the center's director.

In addition to the event at the Kohl Center, Pollan will also participate in a panel discussion from 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25. The location is not yet confirmed; visit the Go Big Read Web site for updates on the event.

Pollan is also the keynote speaker at the Food for Thought Festival at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, downtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just off the Capitol Square. The Food for Thought Festival is sponsored by the Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food Group (REAP).

"Michael Pollan has emerged as one of our nation's wittiest and most intelligent commentators on food, agriculture and our complex relationships with the natural world," says Bill Cronon, director of the Center for Culture, History and Environment (CHE), a partner in Pollan's visit.

"He takes serious ideas and helps make them accessible with clarity, storytelling, and fun. 'In Defense of Food' is a short, lively, engaging book that is easy to read, but so full of ideas that you'll keep returning to its arguments over and over again — whether you're preparing a meal, eating in a restaurant, or shopping in the grocery store," Cronon adds.

The Kohl Center event is part of a flagship lecture series that brings to Madison world-renowned scholars whose work represents the best of the humanities and scholarship that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The center's broader mission includes engaging faculty, staff, students and the public in defining the humanities, fostering interdisciplinary and collaborative study and teaching and nurturing connections between the community and the campus.

Pollan's visit is supported through partnerships with CHE, REAP, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy, the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation, UW-Madison Libraries, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Distinguished Lecture Series and UW-Madison athletics.