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King University News :: Buechner Institute 2012-13 Lecture Series to Wrap April 15 with Lecture by Author, Commentator, and Undertaker Thomas Lynch

Lynch to Speak at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn., April 15

On April 15, The Buechner Institute at King University will welcome back author, commentator, and undertaker Thomas Lynch as the final speaker in the 2012-13 Buechner Lecture Series.  Lynch will speak at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn., at 7 p.m.  The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“As we near our one hundredth speaker in the Buechner series since 2008, Tom Lynch will be our first returnee,” said Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute at King University.  “He is simply one of the great orators of our time.  His essays and his poetry speak powerfully to issues of life and death.  If you missed him last time, make it this time. This is not a program to miss.”

For three generations, Thomas Lynch’s family business, Lynch Sons funeral home, has served the town of Milford, Mich.  His deep connection to community and place has made him a popular and provoking poet, memoirist, and commentator. Lynch’s work has been widely featured in such venues as the New York Times, the Times of London, Esquire, Harper’s, Newsweek, and on BBC and PBS.

Lynch is the author of five collections of poems and three books of essays.  Paraclete Press published “The Sin Eater: A Breviary” in Sept. 2011.  It is a collection of Lynch’s sin-eater poems accompanied by black and white photographs by Michael Lynch and cover art by Sean Lynch.  Other recent works include “Apparition Late Fictions,” (W. W. Norton Company, June 2010), and “Walking Papers: Poems (W. W. Norton Company, Feb. 2010).  In 2005, Lynch’s memoir was published.  “Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans” (W. W. Norton Company, June 2005)was a memoir of forty years of coming and going between Michigan and Moveen, West Clare in Ireland. 

Lynch has also authored numerous works dealing with life and death including “Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality” (W. W. Norton Company, Feb. 2010), and “The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade” (W.W. Norton Company, July 1997, July 1998),” which was the winner of an American Book Award and finalist for the National Book Award. 

In October 2007, Lynch was the focus of “The Undertaking,” a film from PBS Frontline that observed the rituals of caring for the dead as well as the living.  “The Undertaking” won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts and Culture Documentary.  A second documentary by Cathal Black, “Learning Gravity,” was produced for the BBC.  The film was featured at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and the 6th Traverse City Film Festival in 2009 where it was awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore. 

He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, County. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage. 

Thomas Lynch will speak at 7 p.m. on April 15 at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tenn.  The event is open to the public and free to attend.  For more information, contact Dale Brown at 423.652.4156 or visit


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