Dennis Lehane, a New York Times best-selling author and an alumnus of the College, has accepted our invitation to be the speaker for the 42nd Commencement of Eckerd College. This invitation results from the work of the 2005 Commencement speaker committee, which included residential and PEL students and was chaired by Dean Chapin.
Dennis is a 1988 graduate of Eckerd's creative writing program and former student of novelist Sterling Watson and poet Peter Meinke. In an October 2003 interview with Steve Persall, film critic for the St. Petersburg Times, Dennis shared his thoughts about his college experience. "Eckerd was the smartest decision I ever made in my life," said Lehane. "I remember showing up on campus thinking, 'Okay, I've got three years to immerse myself.' That's what I did, just drank, ate and slept writing. It was a very nurturing environment. Those were arguably three of the greatest years of my life." Click here to read the entire article.
Dennis is the author of a highly successful series of Boston detective novels: "A Drink Before the War;" "Darkness, Take My Hand;" "Sacred;" "Gone, Baby, Gone;" and "Prayers for Rain." Dennis's sixth novel, "Mystic River," earned rave reviews and several weeks on the New York Times best seller list. It became an Oscar-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon. His seventh novel, "Shutter Island," has been optioned by a film company and will become a "major motion picture." One of Dennis's latest projects includes serving on the writing staff for the HBO Drama Series "The Wire." He is currently working on a novel about the Boston Police Strike of 1919.
Dennis teaches fiction writing and serves as a member of the board of directors for a low-residency MFA program sponsored by Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Through the Pine Manor MFA program, Dennis co-directed the weeklong Writers in Paradise workshop, held this past January on Eckerd's campus, co-directed by Professor Sterling Watson, director of Eckerd's creative writing program. Read the January 2005 interview with St. Petersburg Times' Colette Bancroft.
Dennis will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Eckerd College.