NEW PALTZ — Lawrence Weschler, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, two-time winner of the George Polk Award, and the 1998 recipient of the Lannan Foundation Literary Award, will speak at the State University of New York at New Paltz on Wednesday, November 18 at 5:00 p.m. Weschler will deliver the keynote address in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

The topic of Weschler’s slide-talk, “Wonder and the Jurassic: Toward a Natural History of Amazement,” will begin with a consideration of the unique Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, California, and then range far afield and include an evocation of the origins of all modern museums in the Wunderkammern, the hodge-podge wonder cabinets of 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

Weschler’s recent book, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and constitutes the latest installment in Weschler’s ongoing Passions and Wonders series. The former Guggenheim Fellow has worked for The New Yorker since 1981. In 1989, he was awarded the George Polk awards for cultural reporting; in 1992, he received a similar award, this time for magazine reporting.

Weschler is the author of a number of books including Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, a biography of light-and-space artist Robert Irwin; The Passion of Poland: David Hockney’s Cameraworks; Shapinsky’s Karma; Bogg’s Bill, and Other True-Life Tales; and A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Tortures. His latest books, both published in 1998, are Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas and A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces.

The 5:00 p.m. public lecture will be held in Lecture Center 112. There is no charge.