Writing About the Life “Beyond”

A Conversation with Catherine Wolff and George Saunders

June 15, 2021
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

What comes next? This question—the question of heaven, or the hereafter, or eternity, or the next life—is a setting-off point for the world’s religions. It is also the focus for a broad range of mystical literature and imaginative writing. In Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven (2021), Catherine Wolff explores five millennia of vigorous human activity “at the horizon of the known” in writing at once direct, historical, reflective, and personal.

This event featured Wolff in conversation with her longtime friend the acclaimed fiction writer George Saunders, whose bestselling novel Lincoln in the Bardo (2017), which was awarded the Man Booker Prize, brilliantly imagines the encounter of Abraham Lincoln with the supernatural in 1862 on the occasion of his son Willie’s death and interment at Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia introduced the conversation; Paul Elie, Berkley Center senior fellow and author, moderated.

Purchase Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven from East City Bookshop.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, Georgetown Humanities Initiative, Office of the President, and Georgetown College Office of the Dean.

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