For immediate release | September 15, 2014

ACRL 2015 keynote speakers announced

CHICAGO — The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces its celebrated lineup of keynote speakers for the ACRL 2015 Conference, “Creating Sustainable Community,” to be held March 25 - 28, 2015, in Portland, Ore. Be challenged and entertained by these three distinguished speakers, who also double as comic writers, journalists, radio hosts, producers and political activists.

Opening Keynote Session, March 25, 2015 – G. Willow Wilson, comics writer, prose author, essayist and journalist

G. Willow Wilson is a gifted author whose writing explores, across multiple genres, the most pressing issues of our time. An American convert to Islam, Wilson lives today in both Egypt and the United States. Her articles, graphic novels and books reflect her extraordinary cross-cultural experiences with remarkable originality and courage.

Earlier this year, Marvel Comics released "Ms. Marvel," the first-ever American comic book series to feature a Muslim superhero. Wilson is the creator and writer of this groundbreaking series, which features Kamala Khan, a young female superhero unlike anything the comic book world has ever known. The first issue of "Ms. Marvel" has been met with much enthusiasm and gone back to reprint six times. A video of Wilson talking about “Ms. Marvel,” is available on YouTube.

Wilson began her writing career at the age of 17 as a freelance music critic for Boston’s Weekly Dig magazine. Since then, she’s written the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series “Air and Mystic: The Tenth Apprentice” and the graphic novel “Cairo.” In her early twenties, Wilson moved to Egypt where she spent several years working as a journalist. Her memoir about life in Egypt during the waning years of the Mubarak regime, “The Butterfly Mosque,” was named a Seattle Times Best Book of 2010. Wilson’s first novel, “Alif the Unseen,” won the prestigious World Fantasy Prize in 2014 and was a New York Times Notable Book and a contender for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction).

Middle Keynote Session, March 26, 2015 – Jad Abumrad, radio host and producer

Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, a public radio program broadcast on 437 stations across the nation and downloaded more than 4 million times a month as a podcast. Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs. In 2002, Abumrad began tinkering with an idea for a new kind of radio program, an open-ended radio “laboratory.” Radiolab has since evolved into one of public radio’s most popular programs. Abumrad hosts the program with Robert Krulwich and also serves as its lead producer, composer and managing editor.

Abumrad employs his dual backgrounds as composer and journalist to create what’s been called a new aesthetic in broadcast journalism. He orchestrates dialogue, music, interviews and sound effects into compelling documentaries that draw listeners into investigations of otherwise intimidating topics, such as the nature of numbers, the evolution of altruism or the legal foundation for the war on terror.

In 2011, Radiolab was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and Abumrad was honored as a MacArthur Fellow (also known as the Genius Grant). Alongside his radio work, Abumrad continues to work as a composer and remixer.

Closing Keynote Session, March 28, 2015 – Lawrence Lessig, academic and political activist

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It,” “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace,” “Free Culture” and “Remix.”

Lessig serves on the boards of Creative Commons, AXA Research Fund and, and on the advisory boards of the Sunlight Foundation, the Better Future Project and Democracy Café. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award and Fastcase 50 Award. Lesing was also named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge University and a JD from Yale University. As professor at Stanford Law School, Lessig founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. A video of Lessig talking about laws that choke creativity can be found on the TED website.

Additional details about the ACRL 2015 Conference are available on the conference website. Registration and housing are currently available.

For more information about ACRL 2015, contact Tory Ondrla at or (312) 280-2515.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.


Tory Ondrla

Conference Supervisor