April 27, 1999 at The University Club

Who was the "Anonymous" author of Primary Colors? What is the true identity of the Unabomber? Is this a work of Shakespeare or not? Who killed JonBenet?

Vassar College English Professor Donald Foster has pioneered the field of Forensic Linguistics and mastered the art of attribution. By uncovering the Anonymous author of Primary Colors, attributing a "lost" elegy written by Shakespeare, and consulting with law enforcement agencies on cases including the Unabomber and JonBenet Ramsey, Donald Foster has given the world new reason to choose words carefully. A member of the Vassar faculty since 1985, Professor Foster rocketed to national prominence when he was profited on Dateline NBC after be uncovered the true identity of "Anonymous", the author of the best-seller, Primary Colors. To literary scholars, however, this was just another feather in the cap of the man who revolutionized the field of analysis of the written word. Please join us at the elegant University Club, a Washington landmark, for a fascinating evening of intricately woven tales by Vassar*s Shakespeare scholar who has become a national resource.

On November 16, English professor, Don Foster, appeared at Chapters Bookstore on K Street to sign copies of his new book, Author Unknown, and to give a talk on the subject of " literary forensics." C-Span filmed the event, which was attended by about 25 people, including several of Foster's former students. Foster has applied techniques of literary analysis to works of unknown authorship in order to determine who wrote them. His secondary career as a literary detective began during his graduate school days when he deduced that a poem by "unknown" was actually the work of William Shakespeare. Since then, he has become famous as the person who figured out that Joe Klein wrote Primary Colors and that Clement Moore did not write "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." If you'd like to watch Professor Foster's talk, go to to find out when it's being shown. C-Span features book programs all day on Saturdays and Sundays, but lists the specific ones only a week ahead. Each program is rebroadcast several times on different weeks.