Pickard Auditorium will be the floor for young New York Times best-selling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer on Tuesday. Foer is the author of several short stories and two novels, "Everything is Illuminated" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." He has been hailed as one of the most controversial and influential authors of the decade.

With the success of "Everything is Illuminated" in 2002, Foer rose to the top of the best-seller lists. The novel won numerous awards including the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Prize.

Foer comes to Bowdoin on behalf of the Spindel Committee, a committee established in 1977 in honor of Harry Spindel to support annual lectures in Judaic studies and contemporary Jewish affairs. Co-chaired by Academic Communications Consultant David Israel and Librarian Sherrie Bergman, the Spindel Committee attempts to identify speakers who will continue the distinguished reputation of the lectureship and celebrate Jewish culture and identity through lectures, music, photography, and film.

"Over the years, individuals prominent in a broad range of fields have been invited who are of interest to students, faculty, and the broader Bowdoin community," Bergman said. "Lecturers in the last two years have been historians, thus this year we were looking for someone from another discipline."

Ireale cited Spindel Committee member Benjamin Freedman '09 and Hillel co-president Shelley Barron '09 as important students in the search for this year's lecturer.

"This year we really wanted to focus on what the students wanted which was an exciting opportunity," Israel added. "It's great to be able to bring in people who are doing exciting things that resonate with people."

"Everything is Illuminated" in particular has been hailed for its ability to speak to people in transitional places in their lives. Freedman partially attributes this accessibility to Foer's young, inspirational persona.

"Foer is not much older than we are and he has already made a huge splash in the literary world. The appeal should be self-evident and all students would be wise to attend this lecture," Freedman said.

"It really is an amazing opportunity to bring somebody like Foer to Bowdoin, somebody who the students are really excited about," he added. "What's really great is that, because of the scale of Bowdoin, lectures like this really give people the opportunity to rub elbows and to converse with people who, in a bigger space, would be inaccessible."

Foer's upcoming lecture also resonates on a statewide cultural level.

"What is so special about this event is that it is a Bowdoin event, yes, but it's also a community event, both for the Maine community and also for the Jewish community," Israel said. "I can really feel all the excitement. We've even had to change the location from Kresge to Pickard Theatre in anticipation of such a positive turnout."

"Annually, the Spindel Lecture is one of the high Jewish cultural events of the year," he added.

"Past lectures have brought a wide variety of speakers and having Jonathan Safran Foer as this year's speaker gives the Spindel Committee a chance to engage yet another aspect of Judaic Studies, Jewish literature," Freedman said.

Foer will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, in Pickard Theater. Admission is free, but tickets are necessary to attend the event and are available at the Smith Union information desk.