The Edward C. and Mary S. Peple Lecture

33rd Annual Edward C. & Mary S. Peple Lecture featuring Geraldine Brooks

Photo of Mary Shipstead

Awarded a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Geraldine Brooks is a world-renowned author and journalist. Her novels People of the Book, Caleb's Crossing, and The Secret Chord all were New York Times bestsellers. Brooks will discuss her award-winning novel People of the Book at this year's Peple Lecture. Inspired by actual events, the novel tells the fictional story of Dr. Hannah Heath, an Australian book conservator who comes to Sarajevo to restore a Passover Haggadah. When Hannah, a caustic loner passionate about her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding, she unlocks the book's mysteries. Brooks takes the reader into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book's journey from its salvation to its creation.

Learn more about Geraldine Brooks.


The Edward C. and Mary S. Peple Lectureship on Libraries and Information Science brings to the University of Richmond visiting scholars to speak about issues relating to the library, publications, and related matters among the entire University community. Students will receive an added dimension to their educational experience at the University, and other members of the University of Richmond faculty and the local community will benefit from the expertise of their presentations.

As founders and charter members of The Friends of Boatwright Memorial Libraries, both Ed and Mary served several terms on the executive council and helped organize and chair the first Book Sale in 1979 and for many years after. In recognition of their many contributions, the Friends made the lecture series possible in 1989 with an initial endowment gift of $10,000. It has since increased as a result of earnings and additional contributions to the endowment.

Dr. Peple's ties to the University of Richmond go back to his days as an undergraduate at Richmond College, where he was a member of the class of 1932. He went on to Harvard University, where he received a master's degree in 1934 and a doctorate in 1936. After teaching at Wells College, he returned to the University of Richmond in 1937 to teach English. He served as dean of the Graduate School from 1965-74 and as associate provost from 1974-78.

He retired in 1978 as professor of English, emeritus, but maintained close ties to the University of Richmond through his work as a member of the University of Richmond Board of Associates and active involvement in the Friends of the Boatwright Memorial Library.

Mary Peple passed away on March 9, 2003. Ed followed her on August 2, 2005.