Category Archives: award winners

Each Of Us Is More Than The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done: Just Mercy With Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson -- credit Nina SubinBy Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau, October 2014)

My grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved in Caroline County, Virginia. She was born in the 1880s, her parents in the 1840s, and the legacy of slavery very much shaped her and the things she would say to me. When I visited my grandmother, she would hug me so tightly I could barely breathe. After a little while, she would ask me, “Bryan, do you still feel me hugging you?” If I said yes, she’d let me be; if I said no, she would assault me again. I said no a lot because it made me happy to be wrapped in her formidable arms. She never tired of pulling me to her. “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” she told me all the time. Continue reading

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Human Nature During War: An Essay by Anthony Marra

9780770436421By Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth 2014)

My interest in Chechnya began when I was in college. I spent a semester of my junior year in St. Petersburg, where I lived down the street from a Russian military academy. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-old cadets, dressed in sky-blue uniforms, marched in formation around the neighborhood each afternoon. Several blocks away, outside a metro station, men a few years older than the cadets gathered to panhandle at rush hour. These men also wore military uniforms, though theirs weren’t as clean or so neatly pressed. A number had lost their legs and wore hemmed trousers. These men were Russian veterans of the Chechen conflict that the cadets might one day join. When the cadets marched passed, they stared at the veterans as if peering into their own uncertain futures, while the veterans looked back with pity. Continue reading

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Marjane Satrapi Announces Persepolis Speaking Tour

9780375714573Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis and co-creator of the award-winning 2007 animated film adaptation, will be kicking off her U.S. speaking tour October 15th in Washington, D.C. Her coming-of-age graphic memoir has been one of the most popular Common Reading choices nationwide with over 95 university adoptions. The story of growing up in Revolutionary Iran, it is both accessible for a variety of reading levels and profoundly relevant to American students’ rapidly expanding worldviews. Continue reading

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“A man who said yes to life”: Wes Moore Thrills at Brookhaven College

9780385528207Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore, recently spoke at Brookhaven College as part of their 2014 Common Reading program.  Nearly 700 students from Brookhaven and the surrounding Dallas County Community College Districts gathered in the school’s Performance Hall to hear Mr. Moore speak.  Introduced by Brookhaven English professor Hazel Carlos as “a man who said yes to life, who rebelled … who begged to be left to his own devices but could not because too many people had planned, sacrificed and lived for him,” Moore emphasized the importance of education, mentorship, service and social responsibility.  “The point of higher education,” Moore told the crowd, “is to understand what becomes all of our roles.”  The crowd erupted with applause as Moore’s talk concluded by speaking specifically to his support of community colleges.

The Other Wes Moore, named a 2011 Booklist Top 10 Black History Nonfiction Book and winner of the 2011 BCALA (Black Caucus of ALA) Literary Award for Nonfiction, has been selected for common reading at nearly thirty colleges and universities.


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“Sincere, inspiring, and wonderfully human”: Boston College on Colum McCann’s Convocation Address

59846_mccann_colum[2]The following piece was written by Rev. Joseph P. Marchese, Boston College’s Director of First-Year Experience in support of Colum McCann and his novel Let The Great World Spin: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperbacks, November 2009):

In September 2011, Boston College hosted author Colum McCann and featured his novel Let the Great World Spin at the University’s First Year Academic Convocation.  This event is a rich tradition at Boston College, assembling the freshmen class in its totality for the first time, and tasking students with the charge to “Go, set the world aflame!” in the spirit of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.  Convocation speakers have featured authors, politicians, and other leaders including Dr. Paul Farmer, Tracy Kidder, Senator John McCain, Jeanette Walls, Ann Patchett, Bill Strickland, and in 2005, then Senator of Illinois, Barack Obama. Continue reading

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Five Days at Memorial Atop Multiple “Best of 2013” Lists

FIVE DAYS- FINAL JACKETThe accolades for Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial continue to roll in.  Fink’s book, which chronicles five days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, has been included in Time Magazine’s 10 Best non-fiction Books of 2013 and has been named as one of the Top Ten Books of 2013 by the New York Times Book Review as well as the Chicago TribuneThe East Bay Express has additionally included Five Days in their “Best of 2013” list, stating: “This year’s most important book is also one of its most enthralling.”  Finally, Entertainment Weekly has named Five Days as the best nonfiction title of 2013.

We are excited to have Sheri Fink presenting at the 10th Annual Random House Author Luncheon at the 2014 Conference on the First-Year Experience®.  Click here to RSVP.


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Educators: Free Advanced Reader Copies of Five Days at Memorial by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Sheri Fink Now Available

FIVE DAYS- FINAL JACKETIn Five Days at Memorial, author Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center following Hurricane Katrina and draws students into the lives of those who struggled to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos.  Written in the tradition of other powerful narrative nonfiction titles such as Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, investigates the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing students into a conversation about the consequences and ethics of health care rationing.  Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared Americans are for the impact of large-scale disasters. Continue reading

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