Novelist and political columnist Richard North Patterson was the featured guest last week at the latest Castle Conversations event at Manhattanville College in Purchase.
Titled, “Politics Today: When Reality is Stranger Than Fiction,” the discussion was facilitated by columnist and political commentator, Bret Stephens. The goal of the discussion was to touch on the current political climate while acknowledging the themes of Patterson’s books that he said have “come closer to truth than he could have imagined they would when he was writing them.”
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Manhattanville President Michael Geisler, who also introduced the guest speakers.
“Despite their very different political viewpoints and positions, Richard North Patterson and Bret Stephens have managed to continue speaking with each other, to reach across the gulf that is threatening to split this society down the middle,” said Geisler.
“I strongly believe that, as a college community, we need to both engender and facilitate that sort of dialogue, and I also believe that Manhattanville’s values and traditions, inclusivity, our focus on the intellectual and personal development of all our students, our strong emphasis on social justice, but above all, the stress we put on empathy are important contributions we at Manhattanville can make to American society at a time when these values are most urgently needed.”
This event was attended by Manhattanville students, faculty and staff as well as members of the College Board of Trustees and guests in the community.
The program was presented by the President’s Office and co-sponsored by the Center for Global and International Studies and Manhattanville’s MFA Creative Writing Program.
Patterson, who has written a total of 22 books dealing with complex political topics like gun control, is a “New York Times” best-selling author. Both Patterson and Stephens agreed that there must be a resurfacing toward a set of principles that “represent the best of who we can be.”
“The business of a great college like this one is cultivating the quality of critical thinking,” said Stephens. “You can’t think clearly unless you can speak freely.”
The next Castle Conversations event will be held in the spring, officials say.
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