Montana State University

'Life of Pi' author to deliver 2013 MSU convocation lecture, kick off 'Year of Engaged Leadership'

February 12, 2013

Yann Martel, the Canadian author who wrote "Life of Pi," will speak at MSU's 2013 Fall Convocation, set Sept. 5. The world-wide bestseller was the winner of a Man Booker prize and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film directed by Ang Lee. Martel's speech will also kick off MSU's "Year of Engaged Leadership," an initiative that will encourage the MSU community to become better everyday leaders. Photo by Alice Kuipers, courtesy of Random House.   High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Yann Martel, author of the award-winning "Life of Pi," which was made into a highly acclaimed motion picture, will speak at Montana State Univeristy's 2013 Freshman Convocation on Sept. 5, and kick off the university's Year of Engaged Leadership.

"Life of Pi" is a world-wide bestseller that has received numerous literary awards, including the 2002 Man Booker Prize.  The book spent 69 weeks on the New York Times' Bestseller List and will be the featured 2013 summer reading for MSU's 2,400 incoming freshman class. The book was the basis for the recent Academy Award- nominated film directed by Ang Lee.

"Yann Martel is a compelling storyteller and an inspirational speaker - an excellent choice to launch our freshman students into their journey into university academic life," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. While at MSU, Martel will lead a master class with students and will sign books following his lecture.

The university also announced that Martel's visit will launch MSU's Year of Engaged Leadership initiative, which will include events scheduled throughout the 2013-2014 school year that will help students, faculty and staff become more effective leaders on campus and in their communities.

The university will plan workshops, discussions, lectures and other campus-wide programs. Each month's activities will focus on a single characteristic of leadership, concentrating on ways that it is, or should become, an integral part of the university's campus culture. Examples of innovative leadership activities will include a faculty-staff day of service in the community and a leadership film series. MSU Extension will work through Extension agents to explore monthly leadership concepts statewide.

Martel, who lives in Saskatchewan, has published six books of fiction. His seventh book, "101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper," published in 2012, is a list of 100 books and accompanying notes that Martel sent every two weeks to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the subject of stillness. In addition to the Man Booker Prize, Martel has received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the Journey Prize.

MSU's freshman convocation is the formal welcoming of its incoming class where the university focuses attention on academic affairs. It shows the support of the university and community to help the new students to reach their goal of becoming the graduating class of 2017. Martel's lecture will be MSU's seventh freshman convocation.  Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke before more than 8,000 members of the MSU and Bozeman community at MSU's 2012 Freshman Convocation.

To learn more about the MSU Freshman Convocation,  go to: To learn more about MSU's Year of Engaged Leadership, go to or email



David Singel (406) 994-4371,