February 24, 2018

Doctorow Booed at University Graduation

By LJ Staff

A politically-charged speech delivered by E.L. Doctorow as commencement speaker at Hofstra University’s May 23 graduation ceremony was met with anger by the crowd, who booed so loudly that Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz had to request the audience to “please let [Doctorow] finish.” The novelist’s 20-minute speech reportedly was largely an attack on President Bush, whom he said is a storyteller too, according to various press accounts. “Sadly they are not good stories because they are not true,” Doctorow told the crowd in Hempstead, NY and continued on with a litany of the “stories” the president told the public leading up to the Iraqi war. He also referred to the USA PATRIOT Act and its impact on libraries in allowing law officers “to see what books you’ve been taking out.” Although the crowd vocalized its distaste for Doctorow’s use of the platform to express his political views, some students and most of the faculty gave the author a standing ovation. Doctorow will speak at the closing session of the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando on June 29.