Skip to content

Public Books Masterclass: The Overstory

The UT Humanities Center and Union Ave Books will host a free Public Books Masterclass about Richard Powers's Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel The Overstory. The discussion will be led by Amy Elias, UT professor of English and director of the UT Humanities Center.

Called by The Times of London “a big novel that tells us as much about trees as Moby-Dick does about whales,” The Overstory won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the William Dean Howells Medal. It presents a series of interlocking stories that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th -century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by events of the Redwood Summer of 1990, The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance to the destruction of the natural world.

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has won the Pulitzer Prize and been a four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He currently lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

How it works:

  • Buy the book (we hope that you buy your book from Union Ave Books!).
  • When you have your book from any store, RSVP for the online masterclass discussion at and you will be sent a link to the Zoom discussion.*
  • Read the book and join our discussion on July 1!

Amy J. Elias is Lindsay Young Professor of English and currently serves as director of the UT Humanities Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her books include the prize-winning Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction; Time: A Vocabulary of the Present; and The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the 21st Century. She was the principal founder of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present and the founding co-editor of the prize-winning periodical ASAP/Journal.

This free and public book discussion is part of a new partnership between the UT Humanities Center and Union Avenue Books, downtown Knoxville’s Independent Bookstore. The Public Books Masterclass meetings feature a UT faculty expert to lead discussions. Check out our entire series schedule for summer 2020!

Dial-In Information

Registered participants will be sent a link to the Zoom discussion.

Wednesday, July 1 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


General Public


Humanities Center


Contact Name

UT Humanities Center

Contact Email

Contact Phone


Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity