April 02, 2018

UAB honors renowned writer with 2018 Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award

Written by: Tiffany Westry


Contributor: Julie Keith

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andrew solomon mwPhoto credit: Timothy Greenfield-SandersWriter, lecturer and activist Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., has been named the winner of the 2018 Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award.

The Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award is given to a distinguished intellectual outside of the University of Alabama at Birmingham academic community whose work is groundbreaking and transformational in the arts and sciences. During their time on campus, awardees give a public lecture and share their knowledge through informal meetings with students and members of the faculty.

Solomon will give a lecture about his best-selling book, “Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity,” on Wednesday, April 18, at 4 p.m. in the UAB Hill Student Center Alumni Theatre, 1400 University Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.

“Dr. Solomon is a prolific writer and a clinical psychologist,” said Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D., dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “His fascinating lectures touch on a wide range of interests, from psychology and mental health to politics and the arts, providing many insights into the fundamental nature of human interactions. He has exhibited the courage to discuss many sensitive social issues including parent-child relationships and LGBTQ-related health and family issues. Throughout his career, he has served as the voice for many who may have felt they had no voice.”

“Far from the Tree” was published in 2012. The book tells the stories of families raising exceptional children, their experiences dealing with challenges and the profound meaning they have found in doing so. It has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Wellcome Book Prize and more than 50 other prizes; it was named by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of 2012.

His 2013 TED talk related to the book can be viewed here. A documentary based on the book premiered at the DOC NYC festival in November 2017.

His highly regarded nonfiction books include his memoir, “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” which won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction. It is included in the London Times list of One Hundred Books of the Decade and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. It was also named a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association and has been translated into 24 languages.