‘Beautiful Boy’ Author Will Discuss Addiction at West Liberty

WLU Hughes Lecture Features David Sheff

WEST LIBERTY — Best-selling author David Sheff, whose memoir “Beautiful Boy” has inspired a new film, will be the guest lecturer at West Liberty University’s Hughes Lecture on March 28. His talk will offer a personal look at America’s drug crisis.

Produced by Amazon Studios, the film stars Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet and is directed by Felix Van Groeningen. It will be released in theaters Oct. 12.

“We’re very pleased to have an author of his caliber joining us again this year for the annual Hughes Lecture. We encourage all book lovers and anyone interested in this topic to save the date for Sheff’s visit,” said WLU English Professor William Scott Hanna, who is coordinating the event. “The Glass Castle” author Jeannette Walls was last year’s Hughes lecturer.

“Beautiful Boy,” with the subtitle “A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction,” was released in 2008 and was a New York Times No. 1 best seller.

Sheff also is the author of “Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy,” the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public health challenge of our time.

“Beautiful Boy” was based on his article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in New York Times Magazine. The article won a special award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”

In 2009, Sheff was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids honored him with a Special Tribute Award “in recognition of his voice and leadership for families who are struggling with addiction.”

He also was awarded the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award, 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Media Award and 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine Media Award “to recognize his compelling portrayal of addiction and its personal effects on families and society as a whole.”

“Beautiful Boy” was named the year’s Best Nonfiction Book by Entertainment Weekly, an Amazon “Best Books of 2008,” and it won first place in the Barnes and Noble Discover Award in nonfiction.

Sheff also is the author of “Game Over,” called “the bible of the videogame industry” by the Wall Street Journal.

The Hughes Lecture Series began in the 1970s and is named after Dr. Raymond Grove Hughes, a beloved teacher who joined West Liberty in 1931. His generous endowment gift established a fund managed by the West Liberty University Foundation and known as the Hughes Lecture Series Endowed Fund. Other guest speakers over the years have included Dr. Ralph Abernathy, confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Eugene McCarthy, U.S. senator and presidential candidate in 1968; John Simon, noted film critic and West Virginia writer; and NASA scientist Homer Hickam.

“In partnership with the WLU Foundation, we are privileged to carry out the legacy of our former professor, Dr. Raymond Hughes, in a way that benefits our students and the community at large,” Hanna said.

Sheff’s lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing in Boyle Conference Center.


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