The following speech was given by Michael Dirda to the graduates of the English Department of the University of California, Berkeley, at their Commencement, on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book columnist for The Washington Post and the author, most recently, of On Conan Doyle, which received a 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University and contributes regularly to The New York Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement. His latest collection of essays, Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books, will be published in July.
Prachi Naik, now a Berkeley graduate, was chosen to speak at the English Department’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony.