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UC Teams With Reading Project
to Host Novelist

Date: March 27, 2002
Contact: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: Campus News

Ernest J. Gaines, the nationally acclaimed author of "A Lesson Before Dying," will speak at Shoemaker Center as part of a culminating event to the community-wide book club, On the Same Page Cincinnati.

Book coverAt 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, UC's Shoemaker Center will be transformed from an athletic arena into a literary center as it hosts the award-winning writer. Gaines will discuss his book and its relevance to helping resolve racial differences. For more information about the author event call 556-4194.

Co-sponsored by UC and the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, the event is free, open to the public and requires no ticket to attend. At UC, Gaines' presentation will be the major spring quarter Just Community activity.

"Together with the Public Library and the rest of the On the Same Page task force, we wanted to make sure this important and meaningful event is as convenient and accessible as possible to persons from all backgrounds," said Mitchel D. Livingston, UC vice president for Students Affairs and Services and one of nine members who served on a community team that selected the book. "We're encouraging college students, high school classes, book clubs and other groups, as well as individuals, to come to the event."

"The library is excited to see the community get behind such a worthwhile reading experience and to be part of a unifying literary event that enables all of us to share common ground and diversity," commented Kimber L. Fender, executive director of the Public Library. "The book is engaging, as well as challenging, lending itself beautifully to book discussions organized throughout the region, across cultural, class and racial lines."

Later that evening from 8 to 9 p.m., WCET48 will present a live in-studio broadcast, On the Same Page: An Evening with Ernest J. Gaines, featuring the author, who will engage in a question-and-answer session with viewer call-ins. "This is an incredible opportunity for the public to interact with a world class author, whose stimulating, provocative writings are a catalyst for discussing social and racial issues," said Susan Howarth, president and CEO of WCET48.

Ernest J. Gaines

For those who wish to learn more about the author before the event, WCET48 will be airing a special, one-hour biographical program, Ernest J. Gaines: Louisiana Stories, at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 21. What began as an idea, conceived simultaneously through several community groups, has evolved into a thriving community-wide book club based on similar programs initiated in several other American cities. The idea to get all Cincinnatians reading the same book at the same time led to the creation of a special community-minded task force. Through a well-planned process that involved collecting input from the public, a committee was then formed to choose a book around which the community could come together and help close the racial divide through literature. The choice became "A Lesson Before Dying," and the idea has grown into a major civic event featuring the highly sought after author as the grand finale to an incredibly inspiring reading experience.

The one-book-for-all reading project, launched on Feb. 28, has steadily been gaining momentum. The enthusiasm with which Cincinnatians are embracing On the Same Page is surfacing all around the Tristate. At the libraries copies of the book are being checked out at record rates, and sales at area bookstores are elevating the book to the top of the bestsellers list. Discussion groups are forming in libraries, university and high school classrooms, coffeehouses, community centers and churches.

More Information, Resources
University Libraries Hosts Book Discussion
Discussion Focuses on Book's Heros
Communication Researchers Study Book Project

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