British Association for American Studies


Hawthornden Lecture on Tennessee Williams (The Royal Society of Literature, London)

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Hawthornden Lecture on Tennessee Williams (The Royal Society of Literature, London)

September 9, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

It is 70 years since the first Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie, which closed to 24 curtain calls. Its author, 34-year-old Tennessee Williams, went on to write A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and to pioneer what Arthur Miller called ‘a revolution’ in American theatre. John Lahr’s biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh won this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for ‘quality of prose’. In this talk Lahr relates Williams’s literary voice to his self-proclaimed hysteria – what he described as “six engines inside a jalopy”.

John Lahr has written for the New Yorker since 1992, where for 21 years he was Senior Drama Critic. He is the author of Notes on a Cowardly Lion, a biography of his father, star of The Wizard of Oz, and of biographies of Joe Orton and Dame Edna Everage. He has edited the diaries of Ken Tynan and Joe Orton, and has twice received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He was the first critic ever to win a Tony Award – for co-authoring Elaine Stritch At Liberty. The event will be introduced by Andrew O’Hagan.

The organisers are grateful to the Hawthornden Charitable Trust for sponsoring this event.
Booking Information
RSL Members and Fellows may book one seat for this event for free. Seats for guests (one per meeting, £5) must be booked and paid for in advance. This can be done through the RSL website as part of the usual booking process.

The RSL takes bookings from the public in advance of each event. They are able to take payment for bookings over the phone, but, as they do not have a box office, they ask that the public book online.

Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, £8 (£5 for concessions). If purchasing a concession you will be asked to present proof on the night of the event. Tickets can be booked here.


September 9, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


The Royal Society of Literature


The Royal Society of Literature
Somerset House, Strand
London, WC2R 1LA United Kingdom
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