Reserve Your Seat for the 2018 Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award, Honoring Lorene Cary


Philadelphia native and acclaimed writer Lorene Cary will receive the 2018 Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award from The University of Scranton’s Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library on Saturday, Oct. 13, in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

Professor Cary’s books are well known for their thoughtful and intelligent examination of the African-American experience, beginning with her best-selling memoir, “Black Ice,” an American Library Association Book for 1991 that continues to be taught in high schools and colleges today. Her 2011 novel, “If Sons, Then Heirs,” is a contemporary love story that also explores the corrosive racial history that haunts its main characters. The book was called “an absorbing and moving tale” by Publishers Weekly and “a powerful take on family, history” by The Philadelphia Tribune.

Cary’s other books include: “The Price of a Child,” a 1995 novel chosen as the first One Book, One Philadelphia selection; “Pride,” a contemporary novel; and “FREE! Great Escapes on the Underground Railroad,” a collection of true-life stories for young readers. Meanwhile, Cary’s essays have appeared in publications like Newsweek, Time, Essence and O Magazine.

In 1998, Cary founded Art Sanctuary to create unique programs for African-American artists, performers and writers in Philadelphia. The programs have drawn up to 1,500 participants a year. In addition, she served on Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission from October 2011 to January 2013.

A longtime senior lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, Cary received the prestigious Philadelphia Award in 2003. She is also the recipient of six honorary doctorates.

Named in honor of the late Rev. Royden B. Davis, S.J., who served in many roles at the University and as rector of the Jesuit Community, the Distinguished Author Award was established in 1997. The Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library envisioned the series as a way to honor notable fiction and non-fiction authors, and to give them the opportunity to share their literary pursuits and impressions with Northeastern Pennsylvanians. Proceeds from the event benefit the Friends of the Library Endowment Fund, which supports special gifts for the Weinberg Library collections and services.

For additional information or to make a reservation, call 570.941.7816 or visit .


Online Reservations for 2016 Distinguished Author Award Now Open!

The Royden B. Davis, S. J.,
Distinguished Author Award Presentation
Stephen Karam
October 29, 2016
5:00 P.M. DeNaples Ball Room

Stephen Karam

  • $ 60 per person
  • $ 25 per student
  • $ 55 for Friends members & Schemel Forum members
  • $ 20 per Student Friends member

For what is sure to be a sell-out event, purchase your admission or sponsorship today! (Invitation packets will be mailed the beginning of September. Checks made payable to The Friends of the Weinberg Library may be mailed in advance of the packets to reserve your seat. For more information visit or contact, 570.941.7816.

Stephen Karam is best known for his Tony-Award winning play The Humans, which centers on a Thanksgiving dinner in a New York City apartment, hosted by a former Scrantonian for her parents, sister, and grandmother, who have traveled in for the day from Northeastern Pennsylvania for the holiday. In addition to the Tony, The Humans was also awarded the Drama Desk Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama League Award, and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Karam also received the 2016 Obie Award for Playwriting.

Stephen’s Sons of the Prophet, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the recipient of the 2012 Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and Hull-Warriner Awards for Best Play. Other plays by Mr. Karam include Speech & Debate, the inaugural production of Roundabout Underground; and the libretto for Dark Sisters, an original chamber opera with composer Nico Muhly. For film, he has written screenplay adaptations of Chekhov’s The Seagull (starring Annette Bening, Elisabeth Moss, Corey Stoll and Saoirse Ronan), and Speech & Debate. Stephen is the recipient of the inaugural Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Drama Desk and Horton Foote Playwriting Awards. He teaches graduate playwriting at The New School. A graduate of Brown University, Stephen was born and raised in Scranton, PA.

CRITICS’ PICK “A haunting, beautifully realized play, quite possibly the finest we will see all season… Blisteringly funny and altogether wonderful.” —Charles Isherwood,The New York Times

“Absolutely, relentlessly gripping… Rackingly funny even as it pummels the heart and scares the bejesus out of you.” —Jesse Green, New York Magazine

CRITICS’ PICK, FIVE STARS “Gorgeous. Stephen Karam boldly forces us into a world beyond the familiar.” —Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

20 Years of Friendship

On Saturday night, the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library presented the 13th Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award to TransAtlantic author and National Book Award winner Colum McCann. It was an extraordinary evening, with record-breaking attendance (250!), a deeply moving address by McCann, and a steady stream of Irish humor from our master of ceremonies, Msgr. Joseph Quinn.

But McCann’s visit was not the only cause for celebration: this year’s event also marked the 20th anniversary of the Friends of the Library. In his remarks, Dean Charles Kratz thanked the many Friends who have supported us throughout the years, recognizing especially the attendees of the very first Friends meeting in June 1994 (pictured above in selections from our digital collections). This year’s award honorarium was donated in memory of Judith L. Weinberger, who had served on the Friends Board, and a special appetizer of grilled cheese and tomato soup was served in her honor.

In addition to the Distinguished Author Award, the Friends support the Weinberg Memorial Library throughout each academic year by organizing fundraisers (like our Book and Plant Sale and the annual Leaves of Class raffle), contributing resources to the Library collections, and sponsoring programs of interest to the community.

During the past twenty years, the Friends have made an enormous impact on the Weinberg Memorial Library and the students and scholars we serve. We are truly honored by your support, and we cannot thank you enough.


Library 20th Anniversary Celebration Video

This past Saturday, the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library honored award winning poet, biographer, fiction writer and educator Jay Parini, Ph.D., with the 2012 Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award. We also kicked off the Library’s 20th anniversary celebration with another honored guest, American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan.

The evening was a wonderful success, and we’re so grateful to our event sponsors, the event planning committee, all of our Friends, and the many Library and University faculty and staff members who have contributed to our 20th Anniversary festivities.

The celebration is far from over, though – check out our calendar of events and join us for lectures, conversations, and our first ever wine-tasting fundraiser!

Scratches, a poem by William Bernhardt

At the end of Saturday’s Distinguished Author event, award recipient William Bernhardt read one of his poems, titled “Scratches,” to the audience.  The attendees loved it, and so many people wanted a copy that we asked Mr. Bernhardt if we could post it here on Infospot.  He agreed – so here, in its entirety, is “Scratches.”


This is how it begins;
scratches on signs, on blocks
on a white page. Then the
scratches start to dance.  They
recombinate, they collect sounds
they call your name.
Like so much in childhood
they are ciphers, full of secrets
but once you learn the dance
the secrets of the world
and more, are revealed.
You learn to read.

You learn:
manners from Goldilocks
curiosity from George
gluttony from Peter
the importance of nonsense from Alice.
You set sail with Jim Hawkins, raft with Huck
row with Mole.
You learn that love is eternal, from Catherine
but so is madness, says the first Mrs. Rochester.
Jeeves helps you laugh
poetry helps you cry
Atticus shows you how to do both, with courage.

Not only have the scratches shaped the world
they have shaped your world.
They have taught you how to see.
Now you need never be afraid.
Now you will never be alone.
In the darkest night
in the deepest solitude
the scratches will call to you.
You will open the covers.
They will reach out their arms and say
“Hey! You thought you were the only one?
You’re not.”

Copyright 2009 William Bernhardt

Distinguished Author William Bernhardt


William Bernhardt, “master of the courtroom drama,” came to campus this Saturday to receive the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author award.  Bernhardt gave a reading and several comments on his latest publication, Capitol Offense, and also made time to sign books for attendees.  The event benefitted the Friends of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library Endowment Fund, so many thanks to all who participated!

We’ll be adding photos as we get them to our Flickr page.

William Bernhardt to Receive Distinguished Author Award on Saturday, Nov 14th.


The talents and skills of the 2009 Recipient of the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award, William Bernhardt, reflect many aspects of the contemporary library.  William Bernhardt is an author, a teacher, a mentor, a researcher, a composer, and communicator.

As an author, Mr. Bernhardt had sold more than 10 million books in various countries.  Library Journal has called him the “master of the courtroom drama.”  The Vancouver Sun dubbed him “the American equivalent of P.G. Wodehouse and John Mortimer.” He introduced the Ben Kincaid series in 1991 with Primary Justice and published the 17th in the series, Capitol Offense, in 2009. The Susan Pulaski series has two titles, Dark Eye and Strip Search.  Among his other novels is the collection Legal Briefs which also contains stories by previous Distinguished Authors Philip Margolin and Lisa Scottoline.   Royalties from the sale of this book benefited the Children’s Defense Fund.  Contributors to the anthology Natural Suspect donated author royalties to the Nature Conservancy. His works for children include a biography of civil rights leader Ada Lois Sipuel, who broke the color barrier for higher education in Oklahoma and throughout the south.

In his recent book, Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, Bernhardt solved the mystery of America’s first serial killer, the so-called Mad Butcher of Cleveland, whose identity has eluded investigators for decades. In the most recent book in the Ben Kincaid series, Capitol Conspiracy, Bernhardt keeps the series fresh and contemporary with a story that takes attorney Ben Kincaid to Washington, D.C., for a high-profile case involving controversial anti-terrorist legislation, political skullduggery, and murder.  In 1999, he founded HAWK Publishing Group.  Each summer HAWK sponsors Writing Workshops to “nurture and mentor aspiring writers.”  These efforts facilitate publication by new authors. In addition to mentoring new writers, HAWK has published books by acclaimed authors such as Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momaday, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Janis Ian, and PBS newsman Jim Lehrer.  His new book, Capitol Offense” is due out on Sept. 29th.

Among the awards Bernhardt has received are the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction in 1995 for Perfect Justice and in 1999 for Dark Justice; the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award in 1998; a Career Achievement Award at the 2000 Booklovers Convention in Houston; and in 2000 the  H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award, “in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.”  (Contemporary Authors)  In addition to his law degree, Bernhardt also holds a Masters Degree in English.  His specialty field is Victorian literature.

I hope you will join us for this celebration of the works of William Bernhardt.  For ticket information, please click on the Distinguished Author web site or contact Kym Fetsko at 570-941-7816.

Charles Kratz