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Novelist, Screenwriter Paul Auster To Deliver 6th Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture On Urbanism At CCNY March 12

NEW YORK, March 5, 2009 – Novelist, screenwriter and man of letters Paul Auster will deliver the Sixth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism at The City College of New York (CCNY) 6 p.m. Thursday, March 12, in The Great Hall of Shepard Hall.  His topic is “City of Words.” 

The lecture, which is presented by the Graduate Program in Urban Design in CCNY’s School of Architecture, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, is free and open to the public.  CCNY is located at W. 138th Street and Convent Avenue in Manhattan.

“Paul Auster is the quintessential urban novelist.  His novels are about different ways of reading the city and different ways in which urban spaces can be characterized,” said Michael Sorkin, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at CCNY, who organizes the lecture series.

Professor Sorkin noted that Mr. Auster’s novels are “amazing popular among architects.  There is something in his writing that speaks to the way architects formulate space.”

About Paul Auster

Mr. Auster is the author of 15 novels, five screenplays and published essays, memoirs and autobiographies.  He has edited several collections and translated works into English, as well.  The “Times Literary Supplement” called him “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.”

His novels include: “Man in the Dark” (2008), “Travels in the Scriptorium” (2007), “The Brooklyn Follies” (2005), “Oracle Night” (2004), “The Book of Illusions” (2004), “Timbuktu” (1999), “Mr. Vertigo” (1994), “Leviathan” (1992), “The Music of Chance” (1990), “Moon Palace” (1989), “In the Country of Last Things” (1987), and the three novels known as “The New York Trilogy:” “City of Glass” (1985), “Ghosts” (1986) and “The Locked Room” (1986).

Among his screenplays are: “The Inner Life of Martin Frost” (2007), “Lulu on the Bridge” (1998), “Smoke” (1995) and “Blue in the Face” (1995).  He also directed the first two.  Mr. Auster won the Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay and the Silver Bear from the Berlin Film Festival for “Smoke.”  “Lulu on the Bridge” was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival.

His nonfiction works include: “Hand to Mouth” (1997), “The Red Notebook” (1995), “The Art of Hunger” (1992) and “The Invention of Solitude” (1982).  They were collected for the first time in the Picador Paperback Original “Collected Prose” (2005). 

Mr. Auster edited and introduced the national bestseller “I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR’s National Story Project” (Picador, 2002) and edited “The Random House Book of Twentieth-Century French Poetry.” He also edited “Samuel Beckett: The Grove Centenary Edition (2006).”

In 2006, Paul Auster was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and won the Premio Principe de Asturias de las Letras, Spain’s most prestigious prize for literature.  Among his other awards are the Commandur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Prix Médicis for the best foreign novel published in France (1992) and the Morton Dauwen Zabel award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990).

Mr. Auster lives with his wife, the writer Siri Hustvedt, in Brooklyn.  His next novel, “Invisible,” will be published in November 2009.

About The Lewis Mumford Lecture

Named for writer, architecture critic and urbanist Lewis Mumford, who attended City College, the series invites the world’s most distinguished urbanists to speak freely and publicly about the future of cities.  The series was initiated and is organized by the Graduate Program in Urban Design in The City College of New York School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture.  Jane Jacobs, author of several seminal books on urbanism, including The Death and Life of Great American Cities, delivered the first lecture in 2004.  For more information about The Lewis Mumford Lecture, contact Kathleen Sheridan at or Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design,

About The City College of New York

Since 1847 The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines.  Over 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.  For additional information, visit



Ellis Simon
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