Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

email signup Blog Video Facebook Twitter Instagram

Harry Ransom Lectures
Spring 2009

Sponsored by the University Co-operative Society

The Harry Ransom Lectures honor former University of Texas Chancellor Harry Ransom and highlight the Ransom Center's vital role in the University's intellectual and cultural life. The program brings internationally renowned writers, artists, and scholars to Austin for a public event and conversations with University students. The lectures are made possible by the generous support of the University Co-operative Society.

Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth
Photo by Aira Unsworth


Writer Barry Unsworth, whose archive is housed at the Ransom Center, discusses his new book, Land of Marvels. A book signing follows.

Barry Unsworth is a celebrated novelist who won the Booker Prize for Sacred Hunger, a novel about the eighteenth-century slave trade that is widely considered his masterpiece. Unsworth was a Booker Prize finalist for Morality Play and Pascali's Island, which was adapted into the acclaimed film starring Ben Kingsley and Helen Mirren. He was nominated for the Booker Prize for The Ruby in Her Navel. His other works include The Songs of the Kings, After Hannibal, and Losing Nelson. He lives in Italy.

Barry Unsworth's papers are housed at the Ransom Center.

>David Mamet

David Mamet
Photo by Brigitte Lacombe


Playwright, writer, and film director David Mamet joins The University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. for a conversation about The Spanish Prisoner (1997) and a screening of the film.

David Mamet is the author of the plays Romance, Boston Marriage, Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize), American Buffalo, The Old Neighborhood, A Life in the Theatre, Speed-the-Plow, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Reunion and The Cryptogram (1995 Obie Award), and November. His films include The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, House of Games (writer/director), Oleanna (writer/director), Homicide (writer/director), The Spanish Prisoner (writer/director), Hoffa, The Edge, Wag the Dog, The Winslow Boy (writer/director), Hannibal, State and Main (writer/director), and Heist (writer/director).

His most recent books include the acting books, True and False and Three Uses of the Knife, and Bambi vs. Godzilla, On the Nature Purpose and Practice of the Movie Business. His film Redbelt premiered in spring 2008.

David Mamet's papers are housed the Ransom Center and will be available for research in spring 2009.

Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi
Photo by S. J. Staniski

1900 University Avenue

Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, discusses the power of literature to influence culture. A book signing of Things I Have Been Silent About follows.

Azar Nafisi is best known as the author of the national bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, a portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected one university professor and her students. Reading Lolita in Tehran is an incisive exploration of the transformative powers of fiction in a world of tyranny.

Azar Nafisi is a Visiting Professor and the director of the Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where she is a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature, and teaches courses on the relation between culture and politics.

Azar Nafisi has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her latest book, Things I Have Been Silent About, is a memoir about her mother.

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha
Photo by Gary Regester

1900 University Avenue

Artist Ed Ruscha discusses his life and work.

Born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, Edward Ruscha moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to attend the Chouinard Art Institute. He had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. He currently shows with the Gagosian Gallery in New York, Beverly Hills, and London.

Encompassing photography, drawing, painting, and artists' books, Ruscha's work has been the subject of retrospectives at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1983), the Centre Georges Pompidou (1989), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2000). In 2001, Ruscha was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters as a member of the Department of Art. The following year a major exhibition of Ruscha's work opened in Spain at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

Leave Any Information at the Signal, a volume of Ruscha's writings, was published by MIT Press in 2002.

Event Calendar

View the full schedule
of programs presented by the Ransom Center, including lectures, Poetry on the Plaza readings, films, and curator-led tours.


The upcoming exhibitions, Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty and The Persian Sensation: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám in the West, are on display in the Ransom Center Galleries through August 2, 2009.

The First Photograph and the Gutenberg Bible are on permanent display.

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

View upcoming exhibitions


Sign up for eNews, the Ransom Center's monthly newsletter, which highlights the month's news, exhibitions, and programs.

Subscribe to eNews

Connect with the
Harry Ransom Center
Flickr YouTube RSS Tumblr Facebook Twitter
Spring 2009 Harry Ransom Lectures

All lectures are free and open to the public. Doors open 30 minutes before the program begins. No reservations required, but seating is limited.

Lecture Series Brochure

Printable PDF (396k)


University Co-operative Society