The University Libraries is excited to announce the Willard Lecture this year, How UNM Turned Hillerman into a Novelist featuring author, James McGrath Morris on Nov. 11, 6 p.m. – 8 pm. The lecture will take place in the historic west wing of Zimmerman Library.

Morris recently released the biography, Tony Hillerman: A Life and will be discussing the legacy of Tony Hillerman and his time at UNM as a former faculty member. Morris will be introduced by Anne Hillerman, award-winning author and daughter of Tony Hillerman.

Morris is a biographer and writer of narrative non-fiction. Aside from his last book The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and A Friendship Made and Lost in War, Morris’s books include the New York Times Bestselling Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press, which was awarded the Benjamin Hooks National Book Prize; Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power—which the Wall Street Journal deemed was one of the five best books on American moguls and Booklist placed on its 2010 list of the ten best biographies; The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism—a Washington Post Best Book of the Year; and, Jailhouse Journalism: The Four Estate Behind Bars.

He is the former president of Biographers International Organization, of which he was among the original founders. In 2019 he received the BIO Award, which is given to a writer who has made a major contribution to the advancement of the art and craft of biography.

Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. Hillerman’s mystery novels take place in and around the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. The novels describe people, both Native and non-Native, struggling to maintain traditions in the modern world. His writing, rich with ethnographic and anthropological materials, garnered Hillerman accolades from around the world, as an award-winning author of detective fiction as well as a perceptive and active supporter of Native American rights.

In addition, the Tony Hillerman papers are housed at UNM University Libraries, where of his manuscripts are digitized and can be viewed online. The Tony Hillerman Portal project is an initiative sponsored by the College of University of New Mexico College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences. The project is a comprehensive information resource about the life and work of Tony Hillerman, and is also a Digital Humanities research tool for students and faculty studying contemporary Southwestern literature.

The Willard Lecture Series, established in honor of former UNM Regent Larry Willard, features engaging speakers highlighting collections from the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, the work of University of New Mexico scholars and topics impacting today’s changing libraries and their impact on the world of academics and research.