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Distinguished Speaker Series

Germantown Academy is pleased to announce that the first guest in the Head of School's Distinguished Speakers Series will be Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead will discuss his book, The Underground Railroad, host a Q & A with audience members and participate in a book signing during a special event on Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm in the Arts Center at Germantown Academy. This event is free and open to the public.


"A parent of three magnificent GA alums gave me Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad as a gift, and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Whitehead’s reimagining of the historical Underground Railroad as a fictional yet ‘real’ railroad became the hook that reeled me into Cora’s story, and her voice became one I couldn’t get out of my head. It’s not every day that GA hosts a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author, but bringing Colson Whitehead to campus now felt like the perfect opportunity to move our decades-old practice of grappling with great literature around the Harkness Table to an even greater stage. Ultimately I was both mesmerized and curious about different facets of Whitehead’s book, and I can’t wait to hear directly from the source what went into the book, to discover his writerly process, and to learn more about how Cora became Cora. Whether you loved the book or didn’t, whether you have read it or haven’t yet, come hear a captivating speaker, and explore for yourself the type of intellectual banter I savor every day here at GA." - Rich Schellhas, Head of School

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad (an Oprah’s Book Club selection and winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize), The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York.

Colson Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, A Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for John Henry Days.

He has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

He lives in New York City.


Purchase the book -

We have partnered with Open Book Bookstore, a local shop in Elkins Park, to sell this book, as well as others written by Colson Whitehead. CLICK HERE to purchase and have delivered to GA or your home. Open Book will donate a portion of its proceeds to GA.