A clear-eyed chronicler of the perplexities of the English language, The New Yorker’s Mary Norris will describe her encounters with the Greek language, modern and ancient, and how they led to the making of her latest book, Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen (W. W. Norton, forthcoming in April 2019). Describing the sea change that turned her scraps of travel writing, poems, and notebooks into a book-length and linguistically exhilarating memoir, Norris will intersperse her talk with readings, showing how the original documents survive, transformed, in the book.

Mary Norris was educated at Rutgers University and at the University of Vermont. Her first book, The New York Times best-selling Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W. W. Norton, 2015), was about her day job at The New Yorker, where she worked for more than thirty years as a copy editor. Her new book, Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen, is about what she did in her spare time: study Greek, travel in Greece, read the classics, and otherwise cultivate life as a philhellene. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in New York. 

Respondent: Kathleen Crown, Humanities Council

Cosponsored by the Humanities Council and The Program in Journalism