Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other bestsellers about “the places where food and culture intersect,” visits SMU March 1 as the next speaker in the 2011-12 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. He will give the Oncor Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
For more than 20 years, Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds meet: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs and architecture. He wrote the bestsellers In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by The New York Times and The Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award and the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Pollan’s previous book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, was also a New York Times bestseller, received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as one of the best books of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. PBS premiered a two-hour special documentary based on The Botany of Desire in fall 2009. His most recent book is Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, which was an immediate # 1 New York Times bestseller upon publication.
A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, Pollan has received numerous writing awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003; the John Burroughs Prize for best natural history essay in 1997; the QPB New Vision Award for his first book, Second Nature (1991); the 2000 Reuters-I.U.C.N. Global Award for Environmental Journalism for his reporting on genetically modified crops; and the 2003 Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture. His articles have appeared in Harper’s (where he served for many years as executive editor), Mother Jones, Gourmet, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gardens Illustrated and The Nation.
In 2010, Pollan was named to the TIME Magazine “TIME 100” in the Thinkers category. In 2009 he was named one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” by Newsweek magazine.
In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture and gardening.
Pollan grew up on Long Island and was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University, from which he received a Master’s degree in English. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac.
The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available. Pollan will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. March 1 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m.
The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place. To ask Pollan a question via Twitter, send a tweet with the hashtag #PollanSMU. Student moderator Derek Hubbard will ask some of these questions during the event.