Skip to main content

Elizabeth Kostova headlines Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture at Warren Wilson College

Author set to discuss research, ethics, culture in ‘The Shadow Land’

Event Details:

The Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture
featuring Elizabeth Kostova
Sunday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m.
Kittredge Community Arts Center
Admission is free, but seat reservations are requested.
Please visit to reserve your space.

The last time alumna Elizabeth Kostova lectured at Warren Wilson College, her discussion focused on Eastern Europe and her first book, “The Historian.” Twelve years later, The New York Times bestselling novelist returns as the Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecturer. This time, Kostova will present “The Moral of the Story: Research, Ethics and Culture in ‘The Shadow Land.’”

“I did my senior year [of high school] at Warren Wilson as a freshman,” Kostova said in a recent interview. “I just learned so much there, and I loved the whole environment. My husband and I have both stayed very loyal to the College. It’s just one of our favorite places. Getting to come back as a speaker and a writer, you can imagine how much that means to me.”

“The Shadow Land” follows a woman’s journey to uncover details about a violinist whose life was marred by communist oppression. As the musician’s story comes to light, Kostova “recounts the horrors men perpetrated against fellow men” in a Bulgarian gulag. She “also recalls their small, salvational acts of goodness,” according to the Los Angeles Review of Books. The work led The New York Times to call Kostova “a clearheaded, elegant writer with a sneaky gift for incorporating the history and culture” into a novel.

Elizabeth Kostova

Elizabeth Kostova by Lynne Harty

Kostova’s focus on Bulgaria is an important part of the work. As NPR noted, “Kostova first visited Bulgaria in 1989, where she met her husband [and Warren Wilson College alumnus] Georg Kostov. … Her interest in the country is deep.”

Paula Garrett, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, said Kostova’s appearance is the second in a series of talks and readings delivered by women writers.

“We’re excited to welcome Elizabeth back to campus for what will be her second Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture keynote address,” Garrett explained. “Her lecture is unique to Warren Wilson College and truly fits the mission of this annual event.”

The Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture Series leads to the inauguration of Warren Wilson College President Lynn Morton in May.

“I am personally thrilled that Warren Wilson has a woman president, and I think the Harwood-Cole is a wonderfully appropriate way to celebrate her. I know I am a little biased, but I’m also thrilled to have a Warren Wilson president who is a scholar of literature. It’s really refreshing to have a leader who is about the humanities and the basic ways we communicate with each other,” Kostova added.

The Harwood-Cole Memorial Lecture featuring Elizabeth Kostova is set for Sunday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. in the Kittredge Community Arts Center. Admission is free, but seat reservations are requested. Please visit to reserve your space.