National storytellers to speak at Clowes

Both speakers at Clowes Memorial Hall next week are respected nationwide for their stories—but not quite for the same reasons.

Humorist and best selling author David Sedaris will speak Tuesday night as part of the Clowes season, and journalist Dan Rather speaks Monday night as part of the Celebration of Diversity Lecture Series. Tickets are still available for both shows.

Rather’s career spans most of modern history. Rather was the first network television journalist to report President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, gaining attention from the CBS News headquarters. He became the network’s White House correspondent in 1964, later covering the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon’s presidency.

“He’s reported on every aspect, every major event and turmoil we’ve had in the past years,” said Nancy Whitmore, director of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism. “In that regard, he’s an excellent speaker for diversity.”

He replaced Walter Cronkite as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in 1981, retiring in 2005.

During his 40-year career, Rather reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, interviewed Saddam Hussein, covered President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Sept. 11.

Rather now hosts “Dan Rather Reports,” a weekly news program on HDNet.

“Regardless of whether you’re a journalism major or not, you can relate to his stories,” said Kyle Inskeep, a senior electronic journalism major. “He has firsthand accounts from prominent time periods when he was covering major news events.”

Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Sedaris is known for his hilarious and often self-deprecating humor in his seven collections of essays and short stories.

Although based on fact and his own life, he often exaggerates details to create more humor. He is a regular contributor to publications such as Esquire and The New Yorker along with National Public Radio.

Sedaris has had every one of his essay collections appear on The New York Times best-sellers list.

Hanna Yaeger, a senior English major, said that the lecture is too expensive for her student budget, but she would love to see him if she could.

“He has such a unique voice,” she said. “He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself. He’s done some crazy things, but no subject is taboo for him.”

Her favorites include Sedaris’s accounts of his job as an elf at a shopping mall and the time he was going to be a mod artist and did lots of Ecstasy.

“I laugh out loud when I read his stories,” she said.

Sedaris is not doing press for this event.

Rather is traveling and unable to do press for his talk.

Tickets are $40, $50 or $55.

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