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08-12-2014

Writer & Actor Herman Koch to Speak at Clarkson University Convocation August 25

Writer and actor Herman Koch will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture as Clarkson University celebrates the start of the 2014-2015 academic year with a convocation on Sunday, August 24, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena. The event is open to the public free of charge.

Herman KochKoch's best-selling novel The Dinner was this year's first-year student common reading assignment. The book is a darkly suspenseful and highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives over the course of one meal.

Herman Koch writes the kind of novels that demand discussion. Books that, as soon as you’ve finished reading them, you immediately need to talk about with someone else. Nothing proved Koch’s ability to inspire conversation more than his American debut, The Dinner.

Readers and critics alike passionately debated the disturbing family drama and the uncomfortable questions it posed, making The Dinner one of 2013’s most buzzed-about novels.

It spent multiple weeks on the New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and IndieBound bestseller lists and was celebrated by such outlets as the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, USA Today, People, Entertainment Weekly, and Salon.

Since its 2013 publication, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett has signed on to direct the film adaptation of The Dinner and Koch has earned a special distinction in his home country, with The Dinner being recognized as the most translated Dutch novel in history (rights have been sold in a record-breaking 37 countries and the novel will be published in 33 languages).

Koch is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. He is also a radio, television and film actor, known for creating the long-running absurdist and satiric series "Jiskefet" for television, in which he also acted. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

All members of the academic community come together to usher in the new academic year at Clarkson's opening convocation. It is also an opportunity to welcome the newest students to the campus and initiate their connection to Clarkson’s traditions and the various constituencies of the University community.

The Kenneth J. and Irla Van Sickle Endowed Lectureship was established in 1992 through generous bequests from the estates of Kenneth and Irla Van Sickle of Shortsville, N.Y. The Van Sickles shared interests in photography, gardening, nature and stamp collecting. During their long and active lives, the Van Sickles were dedicated to hard work, placing great value on education, particularly higher education.

The convocation will be streamed live online at http://clarkson.edu/live on Sunday, August 24, at 7 p.m.

For more information, please contact Tamera Rizk at 315-268-6680 or trizk@clarkson.edu .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Writer and actor Herman Koch will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture as Clarkson University celebrates the start of the 2014-2015 academic year with a convocation on Sunday, August 24, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/hkoch.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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