Upon her death in 1975, Marian McFadden, director of the Indianapolis Public Library from 1944 to 1955, left over $150,000 to the library’s foundation. Desiring to recognize her contribution to the city, foundation officials established in her name an annual memorial lecture series, which features an outstanding author of either adult or children’s literature. Saul Bellow gave the first lecture in 1978. At times, the program committee has adopted an alternating schedule with authors of adult literature featured in even years and children’s authors featured in odd years.

Marian McFadden, 1948
Credit: Indianapolis Marion County Public Library

The lectures, free and open to the public, are put on by the Indianapolis Public Library at sites such as the North Central High School auditorium and Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall. Other authors who have made presentations include Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, Margaret Atwood, David McCullough, Neil Gaiman, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Revised July 2021

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