2019 Common Read: "There There"
The University of Idaho has chosen “There There” by Tommy Orange as its Common Read for the 2019-20 academic year.
Orange is a recent graduate from the Master of Fine Arts program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and lives in Angels Camp, California. The book, which tells the story of 12 characters living in Oakland, closely examines what it means to be a Native American.
“There There” was named among the 2018 National Book Critics’ Circle Awards and to the New York Times Favorite Books of 2018.
“The Common Read committee, composed of students, faculty and community members, were empowered by Mr. Orange’s novel and his journey to become an important voice and part of the vanguard of the ‘Native Renaissance,’” said Dean Panttaja, U of I’s director of General Education.
The Common Read is partially supported by the Judith Runstad Lecture Series, which annually helps sponsor a keynote address by the book’s author or someone closely associated with the book. Orange will give his address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the International Ballroom of the Bruce M. Pitman Center.
Now in its 12th year, the Common Read is designed to engage the university and Moscow community in a unified intellectual activity, Panttaja said. First-year students will be assigned to read the book as part of their Integrated Seminar 101 course, and in English 101 and 102, all part of the General Education program.
“’There There’ is a perfect complement to the first-year experience at the University of Idaho, where understanding one's place, identity and purpose is a crucial part of this transition,” said committee member Cindy Fuhrman, coordinator of the Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program.
Recent Common Reads and Runstad lecturers include Anthony Doerr, author of “All the Light We Cannot See” in 2015; Sy Montgomery, author of “The Soul of an Octopus” in 2016; “Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)” by Carol Tavris in 2017; and “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover in 2018.
Copies of “There There” are available through the VandalStore and BookPeople of Moscow.
Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel "There There," a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angel’s Camp, California.
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The Common Read is a program designed to engage the university and Moscow community, its students, staff, faculty and community members, in a unified intellectual activity. For first-year students it introduces them to academic expectations, respectful discourse, and community building. The Common Read is supported by the Judith M. Runstad Lecture Series, which sponsors a keynote address by the author of the Common Read, or someone closely associated with the book. First-year students will be asked to read the book as part of their ISEM 101 Integrated Seminar requirements. The Common Read book is available through the U of I VandalStore.
This is a program sponsored through the General Education program, supported by the Office of Student Affairs, and a host of faculty, staff and student members on the Common Read Committee.