The Presence of the Past

Author Dara Horn to Deliver Annual Hillel Rogoff Memorial Lecture on Feb. 29

Dara Horn, the acclaimed author of the novels A Guide for the Perplexed, All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, and winner of two National Jewish Book Awards, will deliver Yeshiva University’s Hillel Rogoff Memorial Lecture. Titled “The Presence of the Past,” the lecture will take place at YU on February 29 at 7 p.m. in the Israel Henry Beren Campus’ Koch Auditorium at 245 Lexington Avenue, New York City.

Dara Horn
Dara Horn

Drawing on Jewish historical sources and her own creative work, Horn will discuss today’s technological expectations and their ancient roots, taking the audience on a journey to an Egyptian room full of dead people’s trash to uncover the meaning of storytelling in Jewish life, and its connection to free will and destiny. She will address the questions: What happens to days that disappear, or languages, or people? Is it possible to record everything in our lives, and if it were, would we want to?

Horn received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006. In 2007 she was chosen by Granta magazine as one of 20 “Best Young American Novelists.” Her first novel, In the Image, published by W.W. Norton, received a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The World to Come, received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the 2007 Harold U. Ribalow Prize and was selected as an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times Book Review and as one of the Best Books of 2006 by The San Francisco Chronicle, and has been translated into eleven languages. Her third novel, All Other Nights, was selected as an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times Book Review and was one of Booklist’s 25 Best Books of the Decade. In 2012, her nonfiction e-book The Rescuer was published by Tablet magazine and became a Kindle bestseller. Her fourth novel, A Guide for the Perplexed, was selected as one of Booklist‘s Best Books of 2013. Her forthcoming novel, String Theory: The Parents Ashkenazi, is a prequel to A Guide for the Perplexed.

“Dara Horn has emerged in recent years as a remarkable, contemporary Jewish author,” said Dr. Cynthia Wachtell, director of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program and research associate professor of American studies at Stern College for Women. “It is exciting to welcome her to Yeshiva University to deliver a lecture that honors distinguished Jewish artists, luminaries, and scholars.”

Horn has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Sarah Lawrence College and City University of New York, and currently holds the Gerald Weinstock Visiting Professorship in Jewish Studies at Harvard, where she teaches Yiddish and Hebrew literature. She has lectured at over two hundred universities and cultural institutions throughout North America, in Israel and in Australia.

The lecture is named for Hillel (Harry) Rogoff, an early alumnus of YU and longtime editor of the Jewish Daily Forward. It was established in 1971 through the efforts of the late YU English professor and administrator Dr. David Mirsky and members of the Rogoff family.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. For reservations, please email meirah.shedlo@yu.edu.