Robinson to speak at annual McBride Lecture
Monday, October 1, 2007
By Sara Shumate
The third annual lectureship for the McBride Center for Faith and
Literature will feature Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson.
Christian has always had a tradition of bringing in outstanding
speakers to give students inspiration, information and insight,”
Professor of English Scott LaMascus said. “This [the McBride Lecture]
is the ongoing tradition of bringing in really outstanding people to
help catalyze students’ thinking and to inspire them and inform them.”
Robinson is the author of two novels: “Housekeeping,” published in 1981 and “Gilead,”
published in 2004. She has also published several nonfiction works
including “The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought,” in 1998.
has a talent for weaving several subtle motifs together throughout the
book. The ones I noticed mainly were the motifs of laughter and
beauty,” Senior Amelia Enix said. “The subject matter, a dying preacher
writing a letter to his seven year old son seemed a little dry at
first, but by the end of the book, I couldn’t put it down. The
characters dealt with the issues of atheism, racism against interracial
couples, the difficulty of maintaining family relationships, child
neglect, senility and death.”
Robinson is also a member of the faculty at the Iowa writer’s workshop at the University of Iowa.
characters are not too fully developed, but they are involved in enough
complex things that you are led into being connected to them and trying
to understand them and where they are coming from, and I think that
works well,” Bailey McBride, the professor of English and director of
the Honors Program, said. “I think that’s what we need in regard to
faith issues. Most of us come from experienced and backgrounds where it
is all pretty much cut and dry, and we haven’t had to dig into it or
think about it too much. I think the novel forces us to do that.”
has won Robinson several awards including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for
Fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
“Gilead” has also received almost unanimous praise from critics.
“Housekeeping” was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
told my grandchildren that this was the book I wish I had written for
them,” McBride said. “The narrator is an elderly father with a very
young son, about the age of my grandchildren, and he is trying to write
his thoughts to pass on to his son once his son is old enough to read
and understand what his dad is saying to him. She’s saying things about
faith and family and heritage that I guess all parents want to think
may occur in the lives of their children and grandchildren.”
The McBride Center
for Faith and Literature is named for McBride and his wife, Joyce. It
was founded in 2004. The center’s endowment was made possible by
alumni, friends and family of the McBrides.
a great way to honor Bailey and Joyce McBride, and there’s something
really fun about being involved in gratitude,” LaMascus said.
of Robinson’s visit will include a course for the Oklahoma
Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program. OSLEP hosts short courses on a
variety of topics at four-year colleges and universities across the
“I’m really thrilled that the McBride Center
got to play a role in bringing OSLEP and these students to our campus,
and I hope that it’s the first time of many that we can host an OSLEP
seminar in conjunction with the McBride Lecture,” LaMascus said.
The course will be the first one held at Oklahoma Christian University in more than ten years.
things she is saying are really connecting with the conversation going
on in the nation about spiritual vitality and spiritual authenticity,”
LaMascus said. “She is definitely someone who has serious things to say
about faith and about literature.”
year, the McBride lecture will also feature the announcement of the
first recipient of the Roaring Lambs Undergraduate Fellowship. The
fellowship is designed to recognize students who have completed an
internship in editing or publishing on the national level. The name of
the fellowship is inspired by “Roaring Lambs: a Gentle Plan to
Radically Change Your World” by Bob Briner.
are trying to help students who aspire to professional roles in editing
or publishing to recognize the extreme utility, the extreme importance,
of getting an internship with a national group if possible,” LaMascus
said. “The funding was provided very generously by a friend of the
university from Houston, and we’re very excited to have them on campus
this year to join us, and we’re very excited that the McBride Center
gets not only to bring in a national speaker every year, but also every
year do something to encourage students to get involved nationally with
editing and publishing. The idea is that Christians should use their
character to influence the culture.”
classes from departments across campus are utilizing Robinson’s works
in anticipation of her visit, including classes in the honors program
and the language and literature department.
think we’re really lucky to have the opportunity to hear Marilynne
Robinson and to repeat what Dr. McBride told us: ‘Everyone should go to
the lecture!’ You don’t have to have read the book before the lecture,
but it’s definitely worth reading,” Enix said.
lecture will be Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Gaylord University Center. The
lecture is free and open to the public. Robinson will be signing books
after the lecture. Copies of Robinson’s books will be available for
purchase courtesy of Best of Books in Edmond.