The News Service
Casey Shearer Memorial Lecture
Pulitzer-winning biographer A. Scott Berg to speak on “Telling Lives”
Biographer A. Scott Berg, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for his work, will give the fifth annual Casey Shearer Memorial Lecture. Berg will speak on “Telling Lives: Writing Biography” Thursday, April 21, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching. The lecture is free and open to the public.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Award-winning biographer A. Scott Berg will share the secrets of his craft when he gives the fifth annual Casey Shearer Memorial Lecture Thursday, April 21, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green. Berg, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, will speak on “Telling Lives: Writing Biography.”
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Brown and the Shearer/Goldway family. Previous Shearer lectures have been given by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, ABC News analyst Cokie Roberts, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman and Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell.
Prior to Berg’s address, the winners of the fifth annual Casey Shearer Memorial Award for Excellence in Creative Nonfiction will be announced. A first prize of $1,000, a second prize of $500 and two honorable mentions will each be awarded to a full-time junior or senior at Brown. The awards are funded by Shearer’s family and friends.
A. Scott Berg
A. Scott Berg began his career as a professional writer and biographer following his graduation from Princeton University in 1971. His senior thesis on Maxwell Perkins – the legendary editor who “discovered” F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and dozens of other important writers – won the Charles William Kennedy Prize, and Berg spent the next seven years expanding his thesis into Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, which became a national bestseller and won the National Book Award.
The success of that book drew the attention of Samuel Goldwyn Jr., who offered Berg exclusive and unrestricted access to his father’s personal and business papers. With the assistance of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Berg spent the next nine years writing Goldwyn: A Biography, a chronicle of the American motion picture industry from its origins to the present. Shortly thereafter, Berg became the first and only writer to be given unrestricted access to the archives of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Eight years later, Berg published Lindberg, which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography.
When Berg interviewed Katharine Hepburn for a magazine article in 1983, she suggested he write her biography; for the next 20 years, he remained her friend and confidant. Between 1999 and 2001, Berg gathered his material on the film icon and composed a biographical memoir – complete except for the final page, which he wrote upon her death in June 2003. Kate Remembered was first on The New York Times bestseller list for most of that summer.
Berg has also written and co-produced two documentary films, Directed by William Wyler and Goldwyn:The Man and His Movies. He is currently writing a biography of Woodrow Wilson.
Casey Shearer, Class of 2000, was a vibrant and talented member of the Brown community. An economics concentrator, he also studied Spanish, political science and literature, and he was one of the students who revived Brown Student Radio (WBSR). He was best known on campus as the station’s play-by-play sports announcer and as the author of the weekly sports column “On the Case,” published in the College Hill Independent.
Born and raised in Santa Monica, Calif., where his mother, Ruth Goldway, was once mayor, Shearer graduated from high school in Finland, where his father, Occidental College Professor Derek Shearer, served as the U.S. ambassador. A top student at Brown, he was a member of the economics honor society and received his magna cum laude pin the Friday before he was to graduate. That same day, during his regular pick-up basketball game at the athletic center, Shearer collapsed; he died four days later of an undetected heart virus.
For more information on this event, call (401) 863-2474.