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Celebrated Mystery Author Lawrence Block Joins Newberry Next Fall

February 26, 2019


Lawrence Block, America’s foremost mystery writer, will join the Newberry College faculty as the Gerding Writer-in-Residence for the fall 2019 semester.


Block has published more than 100 books over the course of his 60-year career. Along the way, he has received nearly every award available to a mystery writer, including the coveted Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. The first Grand Master Award was first given in 1955 to Agatha Christie and has since been bestowed on some of the greatest in the genre, including Alfred Hitchcock, Tony Hillerman, John le Carre, Mickey Spillane, Sue Grafton and Stephen King. 


“This is an amazing opportunity for Newberry College to have Mr. Block working with our students for a full semester,” said David Rachels, chair of the Department of Humanities and professor of English. “Students and professors alike are thrilled at the prospect of learning from his expertise.” 


Block’s courses will include a limited-enrollment writing workshop and a survey course of American crime fiction. A public lecture event also will be scheduled during the semester. 


His teaching stint next fall is not Block’s first time at Newberry College. In 2010, he delivered a public lecture and met with more than 200 students who had read his novel, “Eight Million Ways to Die,” in their first-year English class. 


Block is the author of several successful series, including 17 novels featuring his signature character, private eye and recovering alcoholic Matthew Scudder. Several of Block’s novels have been made into films, including “A Walk Among the Tombstones” (2014), starring Liam Neeson as Scudder. 


Block’s appearances in both 2010 and this coming fall are the result of the generosity of restauranteur Jim Gerding and his late wife, June, whose significant gifts to the college have enriched the study of literature and the lives of Newberry College students since 2008.

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