The Helen L. DeRoy-Otto G. Graf Memorial Visiting Professorship in Honors was established in 1981 to support the Honors Program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. It honors Helen Lowentritt DeRoy (1882-1977), a Detroit businesswoman and philanthropist, and Otto Gotthold Graf (1909-1992), an early director of the LSA Honors Program.
The visiting professorship committee selects distinguished visitors, with preference to those outside the academy, to teach in the Honors Program. Some past DeRoy-Graf Visiting Professors include CNN reporter Beth Nissen (2001), from the NSA Dr. Clinton Brooks (2002), singer/song-writer Dick Siegel (2010), French economist Jacques Mistral (2013), author and poet Carmen Bugan (2018), and American public health practitioner, writer, and politician Dr. Abdul Al-Sayed (2020).
Anthony Doerr was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He is also the author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award, a finalist for Novel of the Year in the British Book Awards, and winner of the Grand prix de littérature américaine in France.
Doerr’s short stories and essays have won five O. Henry Prizes and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, New American Stories, The Best American Essays, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction, and many other places. His work has been translated into over forty different languages and has received numerous awards, fellowships, and recognitions including the 2010 Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories. All the Light We Cannot See was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over 200 weeks, and will be released by Netflix as a limited series on November 2, 2023.
Doerr will be teaching a mini-course with Honors for the Fall 2023 term entitled A World in a Grain of Sand: Examining the Formulaic and the Unfamiliar in Creative Work. The course will focus on the tendency to resort to the habitual in writing and other creative work and understanding how to recognize and resist cliches through rediscovering awe in commonplace experiences. Doerr will also be holding a public lecture at Hill Auditorium on Wednesday, October 11th at 6pm. More information on the lecture can be found here.
To learn more about Doerr, visit his website here.