Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Renewing the city socially, spiritually and culturally

Pulitzer Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson receives CFW inaugural Commission of Faith & Work

April 2017

Redeemer’s Center for Faith Work (CFW) is honored to announce its inaugural Commission of Faith & Work to Pulitzer Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson, for her notable integration of faith and work and remarkable contribution to the humanities.

“CFW has been committed to supporting and highlighting the bright spots of faith and work integration. There are few brighter, and with greater depth of soul, than Marilynne Robinson,” says CFW executive director David Kim. “Her already singular body of work exhibits a confluence of imagination, beauty, and intellectual rigor that will nourish the humanities for a long time to come, a much-needed voice for these days. Robinson’s writing achieves a level of thought and craft that CFW has aimed to model to our constituents, and we are thrilled to foster and further share her work through this exciting new commission.”

The commission aims to address the tide of uncertainty that the humanities now face with distinctly Christian support. Historically, in times of uncertainty and transition, the humanities have provided reminders of hope and grace to combat our fear and doubt. They center us in the miracle of the Imago Dei, sounding the peal of God’s presence in our lives. As Robinson so wisely states in one of her many erudite essays: “I experience religious dread whenever I find myself thinking that I know the limits of God’s grace, since I am utterly certain it exceeds any imagination a human being might have of it. God does, after all, so love the world.” 

Robinson is the author of four novels: Lila (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; Home (2008), winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Gilead (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Housekeeping (1980), winner of PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. Her five nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things: Essays (2015) and The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (1998).

Her many other honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Fund, the National Humanities Medal, and the American Academy of Religion in the Arts Award. Robinson, a longtime faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Robinson lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is a deacon for the Congregational United Church of Christ. This September, she received the Library of Congress’ Prize for American Fiction.

In light of the commission, CFW will facilitate several community-building opportunities where Redeemerites and New Yorkers can engage with Robinson’s writing. Most recently, CFW hosted a book discussion group on Robinson’s latest PEN Award Finalist book of essays The Givenness of Things. In addition, five of CFW’s artists-in-residence created new work on the theme of Givenness, inspired by Robinson’s essay of the same name. The final projects from their residencies will be presented across the city in various forms.

Resources and introductions into Robinson’s work:

The Givenness of Things: Essays (2016)

Gilead (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Home (2008), winner of the Orange Prize 

Lila (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

Housekeeping (1980), winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award

The New York Review of Books: President Obama and Marilynne Robinson In Conversation

The Paris Review on Marilynne Robinson and The Art of Fiction

To learn more about the commission, Robinson’s work, and CFW’s programs and events, visit faithandwork.com.




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