Montana State University

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Freshman Convocation

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 7:30pm
Brick Breeden Fieldhouse

Photo Copyright Alice Kuipers

Yann Martel, the Canadian author who wrote Life of Pi, will speak at Montana State University's 2013 Fall Convocation, set Sept. 5. The world-wide bestseller was the winner of a Man Booker prize and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film directed by Ang Lee. Martel's speech will also kick off MSU's "Year of Engaged Leadership," an initiative that will encourage the MSU community to become better everyday leaders.

Martel achieved worldwide acclaim with the publication of his novel Life of Pi, which was published in 46 countries, and became an international bestseller, with more than 7 million copies sold. The director Ang Lee adapted the novel to the silver screen in 2011. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Martel has published six books of fiction. In addition to the Man Booker Prize, Martel has received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Journey Prize.

In April 2007, he embarked on a working project, What Is Stephen Harper Reading?, in which he sent the prime minister of Canada, a book every two weeks exploring "stillness" and the importance of literary culture, with an accompanying explanatory letter. He posted his letters, book selections, and any responses to a website devoted to the project, which are now available on the MSU Library website. A collection of the first 55 letters to Prime Minister Harper, What is Stephen Harper Reading: Yann Martel's Recommended Reading for a Prime Minister and Book Lovers of All Stripes, was published in 2009.

Martel moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in September 2003, where he lives with his partner, the writer Alice Kuipers, and their children. Martel is a visiting scholar at the University of Saskatchewan.

MSU's freshman convocation is the formal welcoming of its incoming class where the university focuses attention on academic affairs. It shows the support of the university and community to help the new students to reach their goal of becoming the graduating class of 2017. Martel's lecture will be MSU's seventh freshman convocation.

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