Twain Events

April 11, 2014
"An Evening with 
Sarah Vowell"
7:30 PM

Doors open at
6:30 with music
by WD-40
(Wes Lanich '05,
Darrion Siler '07,
& Nathan
Graham '06) 



An Evening with Sarah Vowell 

Sarah Vowell

Photo by Bennett Miller

On April 11, 2014, Sarah Vowell will deliver the 8th annual Twain Lecture on American Humor and Culture. 

Event is free and open to the public.

An Evening with Sarah Vowell

April 11, 2014
in the Michael P. O'Brien Athletics and Recreation Center

7:30 PM
Doors open at 6:30 with music by WD-40 (Wes Lanich '05, Darrion Siler '07, and Nathan Graham '06)
Lecture to be followed by a book-signing

Event is free and open to the public.

Co-Sponsored by SGA, SGA Programs Board, Historic St. Mary's City, the Arts Alliance, the English Department, the Center for the Study of Democracy, and the History Department. 

Sarah Vowell

Photo by Bennett Miller

To view Sarah Vowell discuss "Evacuation Day" on The Daily Show, click here. To view a selection of other video clips of Sarah Vowell, please click here.

Sarah Vowell is the New York Times’ bestselling author of six nonfiction books on American history and culture.  By examining the connections between the American past and present, she offers personal, often humorous accounts of everything from presidents and their assassins to colonial religious fanatics, as well as thoughts on American Indians, utopian dreamers, pop music and the odd cranky cartographer.

Vowell’s most recent book, Unfamiliar Fishes (2011) is the intriguing history of our 50th state, Hawaii, annexed in 1898.  Replete with a cast of beguiling and often tragic characters, including an overthrown Hawaiian queen, whalers, missionaries, sugar barons, Teddy Roosevelt and assorted con men, Unfamiliar Fishes is another  history lesson in Americana as only Vowell can tell it – with brainy wit and droll humor.

The Wordy Shipmates (2008) examines the New England Puritans and their journey to and impact on America. She studies John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” and the bloody story that resulted from American exceptionalism. And she also traces the relationship of Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first governor, and Roger Williams, the Calvinist minister who founded Rhode Island – an unlikely friendship that was emblematic of the polar extremes of the American foundation. Throughout she reveals how American history can show up in the most unexpected places in our modern culture, often in poignant ways.

Her book Assassination Vacation (2005) is a haunting and surprisingly hilarious road trip to tourist sites devoted to the murders of presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. Vowell examines what these acts of political violence reveal about our national character and our contemporary society.

She is also the author of two essay collections, The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002) and Take the Cannoli (2000).  Her first book Radio On (1997), is her year-long diary of listening to the radio in 1995. 

Vowell was a contributing editor for Public Radio International’s This American Life from 1996-2008, where she produced numerous commentaries and documentaries and toured the country in many of the program’s live shows.  She was one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s, also participating in many of the quarterly’s readings and shows.  She has been a columnist for Salon.com, Time and San Francisco Weekly and continues to write occasional essays for the opinion page of The New York Times

Vowell has made numerous appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.   She is the voice of teen superhero Violet Parr in Brad Bird’s Academy Award-winning The Incredibles, a Pixar Animation Studios film. 

Vowell is the president of the board of 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for students aged 6-18 in Brooklyn.


“[Vowell] is somehow simultaneously patriot and rebel, cynic and dreamer, an aching secularist in search of a higher ground.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“Vowell’s funny, imaginative take on musty, buckled-up Pilgrim notables brings the era wickedly to life.”

The Washington Post


“I love Sarah Vowell’s writing—it’s smart, funny, soulful, even educational.”

—Nick Hornby 

(Biography courtesy of The Barclay Agency) 


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