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Big Magic: Thoughts on Creative Living
Friday, May 22nd at 6 p.m.
Limelight Ballroom

“This speech is unabashedly about magic.  About seeking it, summoning it, believing in it, and making a life out it. In my case this has happened through writing, but for others magic might be found in something else entirely.  My talk will be an encouragement to embrace completely irrational but beautiful notions of kismet and coincidence, of hidden messages and true paths. And out of the belief in magic comes a strange shining confidence, far more exciting to inhabit than self-doubt, fear, and uncertainty.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Elizabeth Gilbert was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1969, and grew up on a small family Christmas tree farm. She attended New York University, where she studied political science by day and worked on her short stories by night. After college, she spent several years traveling around the country, working in bars, diners and ranches, collecting experiences to transform into fiction.

These explorations eventually formed the basis of her first book —a short story collection called Pilgrims, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and which moved Annie Proulx to call her “a young writer of incandescent talent”.

In 2000, Elizabeth published her first novel, Stern Men. In 2002, Elizabeth published The Last American Man—the true story of the modern day woodsman Eustace Conway. This book, her first work of non-fiction, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Elizabeth is best known, however for her 2006 memoir Eat Pray Love, which chronicled her journey alone around the world, looking for solace after a difficult divorce. The book was an international bestseller, translated into over thirty languages, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. In 2010, Eat Pray Love was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. The book became so popular that Time Magazine named Elizabeth as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In 2010, Elizabeth published a follow-up to Eat Pray Love called Committed—a memoir which explored her ambivalent feelings about the institution of marriage. The book immediately became a number one New York Times Bestseller, and was also received with warm critical praise.

Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, published in Autumn 2013, is a sprawling tale of 19th century botanical exploration. O Magazine named it “the novel of a lifetime”, and the Wall Street Journal called it “the most ambitious and purely-imagined work of (Gilbert’s) twenty-year career.” Elle Magazine said, “Looks like Gilbert keeps raising the bar.”

The Signature of All Things was a New York Times Bestseller, and Janet Maslin called it “engrossing…vibrant and hot-blooded.” The novel was named a Best Book of 2013 by The New York Times, O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker.

Elizabeth Gilbert lives in the small river town of Frenchtown, New Jersey, where she and her husband (more widely known as “That Brazilian Guy From Eat Pray Love”) run a large and delightful imports store called Two Buttons