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Tara Westover

2019 Speaker

TARA WESTOVER is an American historian and writer known for her unique and courageous education journey. She was born to Mormon survivalist parents opposed to public education. Westover never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother. Until she decided to get education and expe­rience the world outside of her community. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT, and was admitted to Brigham Young University. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom and continued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008, and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Westover also earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Her new book, Educated, is an account of the struggle for self-invention. Educated was long-listed for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and had spent thirty two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Former U.S. President Barack Obama named Educated as one of the books on his summer reading list of 2018. @tarawestover