Past Events

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story  of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout and Jenn Abelson for the 2019 reading program.

I Have the Right To Book CoverChessy Prout was a 15-year-old student at a prestigious New England boarding school in 2014 when she was sexually assaulted by Owen Labrie, a popular senior at the school. She reported the attack and Labrie was arrested and charged. The ensuing trial revealed a rape culture at the school that included a student "ritual" involving senior boys trying to "score" with younger girls before graduation. In I Have the Right To, Prout tells her story again, in often wrenching detail - but she also looks forward in the book - advocating for a cultural change and a "Bill of Rights" for sexual assault survivors.

 

Resource Guide

Discussion Questions and Writing Prompts

Extension Activities

 

 

 

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for the 2018 reading program.

The Hate U Give bookcoverSixteen-year-old Starr Carter navigates between the poverty-stricken neighborhood she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is the sole witness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.

ANGIE THOMAS was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and was acquired by the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in a 13-house auction. It has received starred reviews from 8 literary journals, one of the highest amounts received for a young adult novel, and will be published in over 20 countries. The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly both called it required reading. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill Productions with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg attached to star.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter navigates between the poverty-stricken neighborhood she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is the sole witness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.

Thomas holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Thomas is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included.

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez for the 2017 reading program.The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez

Named a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, an NPR Great Read, The Daily Beast‘s Novel of the Year, and aMother Jones,Oprah.com, School Library Journal, andBookPage Best Book of the Year

When fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. Here Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the story of these star-crossed lovers, and of the Rivera and Toro families, with the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. The Book of Unknown Americans is a stunning novel of hopes and dreams, guilt and love—a book that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.

This will be the ninth year of the One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in their University Perspectives course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about The Book of Unknown Americans as part of their course assignments.

CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ is the author of The Book of Unknown Americans, which was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and one of Amazon’s Top 10 Books of the Year. It was the Daily Beast Novel of the Year, a Washington PostNotable Book, an NPR Great Read, a Target Book of the Month selection, and was chosen one of the best books of the year by BookPage, Oprah.com, and School Library Journal. It was also longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

 

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson for this year’s reading program.

Bryan StevensonJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

“Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”

—MICHELLE ALEXANDER, author of The New Jim Crow

“This is a remarkably readable and accessible book, and I can see it fitting in very well in any number of course curriculums,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the One Book, One Community committee. “The committee made a particular effort this year to make our selection in time for faculty members to consider adding it to their courses, so we can increase the number of students reading it.” 

Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, and a professor of law at NYU’s School of Law. He will visit the U of A Thursday, Nov. 3, and give a free public lecture on his book at 6:30 p.m. (Reynolds Auditorium). He will also speak to Fayetteville Public Library book club members at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

The book will be suggested reading for all U of A freshmen in the University Perspectives class, and is expected to be a part of other course curriculums as well. Book clubs connected to the Fayetteville Public Library will be reading Just Mercy and all members of the university and Northwest Arkansas communities are encouraged to read and discuss it.

This will be the eighth year of the One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in their University Perspectives course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about Just Mercy as part of their course assignments.

BRYAN STEVENSON is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John for this year’s reading program.

The book tells the Outcasts United: An American Twon, A Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference, Warren St. Johntrue story of a refugees from wars in the Middle East and Africa who were re-settled in the small town of Clarkson, Georgia, a new miles outside of Atlanta. The process was as unsettling for the refugees – particularly the teenagers – as it was for the townspeople. For the young men, soccer was a common link – and Outcasts United is about the struggle of a young Muslim woman to build that link into a team, and a league that could bring the Clarkson community together.

“The book is well-written, the story is compelling and the message is very important,” said David Jolliffe, co-chair of the committee. “Outcasts United raises so many important issues that citizens, young and old, in the U.S. should consider:  the responsibility to relocate refugees from the world's danger zones, the attitudes that develop in response to the resulting diversity, and the strength newcomers show as they strive to assimilate into a new culture”

“In several ways this is a perfect choice One Book, One Community,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the committee. “It’s about a community coming together to deal with change and conflict. Every community in this country faces these kinds of issues, and hopefully reading this book can provide new insights for communities across Northwest Arkansas and the state.” 

Warren St. James is a reporter for the New York Times and author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania (2004). He will visit the U of A Thursday, Nov. 5, and give a free public lecture on his book at 6:30 p.m. in Hillside Auditorium. He will also speak to Fayetteville Public Library book club members at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6.

The book will be suggested reading for all U of A freshmen in the University Perspectives class, and is expected to be a part of other course curriculums as well. Book clubs connected to the Fayetteville Public Library will be reading Outcasts United, and all members of the university and Northwest Arkansas communities are encouraged to read and discuss it.

This will be the seventh year of the One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in their University Perspectives course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about Outcasts United as part of their course assignments.

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected What It's Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes for the 2014 reading program.

This will be the sixth year of theWhat It's Like to Go to War, Karl Marlantes One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The One Book, One Community project has strong academic value and campus support from faculty and students alike," Gearhart said. "Like its predecessors in this series, What It's Like to Go to War will provide our campus community with an intellectually stimulating shared experience. I look forward to reading it and to the discussions and special programs related to it."

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in their University Perspectives course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about What It's Like to Go to War as part of their course assignments. Karl Marlantes will visit Fayetteville October 30-November 1 to speak with students and faculty, deliver a public lecture

A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals. He is the author of the best-selling and prize-winning Matterhorn.

Visit Karl Marlantes' website.

 

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness by Pete Earley for the 2013 reading program.

Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness, Pete EarleyThis will be the fifth year of the One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The One Book, One Community project has strong academic value and campus support from faculty and students alike," Gearhart said. "Like its predecessors in this series, Crazy will provide our campus community with an intellectually stimulating shared experience. I look forward to reading it and to the discussions and special programs related to it."

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in their University Perspectives course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about Crazy as part of their course assignments. Pete Earley will visit Fayetteville November 7-8 to speak with students and faculty, deliver a public lecture, and meet with local book club members at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including the New York Times bestseller The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.

After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.

His honest reporting and compelling writing helped him garner success as one of few authors with ”the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency,” according to Washingtonian magazine.

When Pete’s life was turned upside down by the events recounted in his book Crazy, he joined the National Alliance of Mental Illness to advocate for strong mental health reform on the public stage.

This new advocacy has taken him to 46 different states and multiple countries around the globe where he delivers speeches to rally against the troubled mental health systems and for the mentally ill.

Visit Pete Earley's website.

 

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected The Working Poor by David Shipler for the 2012 reading program.

The Working Poor, David ShiplerThis will be the fourth year of the One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The One Book, One Community project has strong academic value and campus support from faculty and students alike," Gearhart said. "Like its predecessors in this series, The Working Poor will provide our campus community with an intellectually stimulating shared experience. I look forward to reading it and to the discussions and special programs related to it."

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in the fall English Composition course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about The Working Poor as part of their course assignments. David Shipler will visit Fayetteville Oct. 24 through Oct. 26 to speak with students and faculty, deliver a public lecture, and meet with local book club members at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author and Former Foreign
Correspondent of The New York Times

Born Dec. 3, 1942. Grew up in Chatham, N.J. Married with three children. Graduated from Dartmouth in 1964. Served in U.S. Navy as officer on a destroyer, 1964-66.

Joined The New York Times as a news clerk in 1966. Promoted to city staff reporter, 1968. Covered housing, poverty, politics. Won awards from the American Political Science Association, the New York Newspaper Guild, and elsewhere.

From 1973-75 served as a New York Times correspondent in Saigon, covering South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Reported also from Burma.

Spent a semester in 1975 at the Russian Institute of Columbia U. studying Russian language and Soviet politics, economics and history to prepare for assignment in Moscow. Correspondent in Moscow Bureau for four years, 1975-79; Moscow Bureau Chief from 1977-79. Wrote the best-seller Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams, published in 1983, updated in 1989, which won the Overseas Press Club Award in 1983 as the best book that year on foreign affairs.

From 1979-84, served as Bureau Chief of The New York Times in Jerusalem. Was co-recipient (with Thomas Friedman) of the 1983 George Polk Award for covering Lebanon War.

Spent a year, 1984-85, as a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington to write Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land, which explores the mutual perceptions and relationships between Arabs and Jews in Israel and the West Bank. The book won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction and was extensively revised and updated in 2002. Was executive producer, writer and narrator of a two-hour PBS documentary on Arab and Jew, which won a 1990 Dupont-Columbia award for broadcast journalism, and of a one-hour film, Arab and Jew: Return to the Promised Land, which aired on PBS in August 2002.

Served as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times until 1988. From 1988-90 was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writing on transitions to democracy in Russia and Eastern Europe for The New Yorker and other publications.

His book A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America, based on five years of research into stereotyping and interactions across racial lines, was published in 1997. One of three authors invited by President Clinton to participate in his first town meeting on race.

His book, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, was a national best-seller in 2004 and 2005. It was a finalist for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award and the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award. It won an Outstanding Book Award from The Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights at Simmons College and led to awards from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the New York Labor Communications Council, and the D.C. Employment Justice Center. He has just finished two books on civil liberties: The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties, published in 2011 and Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Today's America, in 2012.

Shipler has received a Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from Dartmouth and the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Letters from Middlebury College and Glassboro State College (N.J.), Doctor of Laws from Birmingham-Southern College, and Master of Arts from Dartmouth College, where he served on the Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2003. Member of the Pulitzer jury for general nonfiction in 2008, chair in 2009. Has taught at Princeton and American University, as writer-in-residence at U. of Southern California, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow on about fifteen campuses, and a Montgomery Fellow and Visiting Professor of Government at Dartmouth.

Visit David Shipler's website.

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected No Impact Man by Colin Beavan for the 2011 reading program.

This will be the third year of No Impact Man, Colin Beavanthe One Book, One Community project. Its success on campus and in the community prompted Chancellor G. David Gearhart to provide the project with a permanent budget, drawing on money from private donations to the Chancellor’s Fund.

“The One Book, One Community project has strong academic value and campus support from faculty and students alike," Gearhart said. "Like its predecessors in this series, No Impact Man will provide our campus community with an intellectually stimulating shared experience. I look forward to reading it and to the discussions and special programs related to it."

“The committee is very grateful to the chancellor for his support,” said Fitzpatrick. “We believe this support will go a long way toward helping the One Book, One Community project become an essential and sustainable program at the University of Arkansas. We are working to build a program that enriches our students’ education and becomes a memorable experience for the entire community.”

Students in the fall English Composition course and several other classes will read, discuss and write about No Impact Man as part of their course assignments. Colin Beavan will visit Fayetteville Oct. 27 and 28 to speak with students and faculty, deliver a public lecture, and meet with local book club members at the Fayetteville Public Library.

Colin Beavan, PhD
AKA No Impact Man
Author, writer, blogger,
consultant, engaged citizen

As the news stories go: “Colin Beavan is a liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it…” Thus, in November, 2006, Beavan launched a year-long project in which he, his wife, his two-year-old daughter and his four-year-old dog went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.

The point of the project was to experiment with ways of living that might both improve quality of life and be less harmful to the planet. It also provided a narrative vehicle by which to attract broad public attention to the range of pressing environmental crises including: food system sustainability, climate change, water scarcity, and materials and energy resource depletion.

Beavan’s experiment in lifestyle redesign is the subject of his book (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and a Sundance-selected documentary by independent film producers Laura Gabbert (Sunset Story, Getting to Know You) and Eden Wurmfeld (The Hammer, Puccini for Beginners, Kissing Jessica Stein). Both the book and the documentary will be released in September, 2009. Columbia Pictures also plans to make a feature film (produced by Todd Black) based on the book.

Beavan writes and administers the provocative environmental blog NoImpactMan.Com, which has become a meeting point for discussion of environmental issues from a “deep green” perspective. In addition to some 2,500 daily visitors and 4,000 daily page views, the site has 10,000 email and “newsreader” subscribers. About 1.8 million people have visited the blog since he established it a year and a half ago.

Beavan was named one of MSN’s Ten Most Influential Men of 2007 and was named an Eco-Illuminator in Elle Magazine’s 2008 Green Awards. His blog NoImpactMan.com was named one of the world’s top 15 environmental websites by Time Magazine. He was named a 2008 Eco-Star by New York City’s Lower East Side Ecology Center.

The No Impact project has been the subject of stories in the New York Time, the Christian Science Monitor, and many other national and international news outlets. Beavan has appeared on The Colbert Report, Good Morning America, Nightline, The Montel Show, and all the major NPR shows. He speaks regularly to a wide variety of audiences, is frequently quoted in the press and consults to business on the intersection of sustainability and human quality of life.

Beavan is a PhD electronic engineer (University of Liverpool). He spent the late 80s and early 90s as a consultant to philanthropic organizations such as social housing providers, drug treatment agencies and hospitals, helping them to promote themselves in order to secure increasingly scarce, Thatcher-era funding.

In 1992 Beavan returned to the United States and wrote for magazines until Hyperion published his first book Fingerprints: The Origins of Crime Detection and the Murder Case that Launched Forensic Science (a popular history of criminology) in 2001. In 2006, Viking published his second book, Operation Jedburgh: D-Day and America’s First Shadow (about the operation that formed the precedent for U.S. anti-Soviet operations in Afghanistan).

He is director of the No Impact Project, a visiting scholar at NYU, an advisor to the University’s Sustainability Task Force, and sits on the board of directors of New York City’s Transportation Alternatives and on the advisory council of Just Food.

 

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected The Immortal of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot for the 2010 reading program.

Rebecca Skloot,The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot best-selling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will visit Fayetteville for two days in October as part of the One Book, One Community project at the University of Arkansas.

“We are honored to have a writer of Rebecca Skloot’s caliber here on our campus,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the One Book, One Community committee. “She already has an excellent reputation as a speaker who can present complicated and important issues in a way that is thought provoking and at the same time accessible to the public.”

More than 2,000 university students are reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as part of One Book, One Community. It is required reading in all sections of freshman English composition courses, but is also being read in many other classes and groups across campus. This includes 62 Master of Arts in Teaching students and 14 faculty members and graduate assistants in the College of Education and Health Professions who are reading the book and discussing it in their weekly cohort meetings.

Skloot will speak to all of these readers during a question and answer session beginning at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. Skloot will be in the Reynolds Center auditorium and a video link will connect her to two other on-campus locations, Willard J. Walker Hall and Giffels Auditorium in Old Main. The audience in Reynolds will be able to ask questions, while those in the other locations will be encouraged to send Twitter questions that will be relayed to her.

“We are expecting a great deal of interest in these appearances and we want as many people as possible to participate,” said David Jolliffe, who also co-chairs the committee. “We are planning to make use of all the technology at our command to make this an excellent experience for Ms. Skloot and her audience.”

 

Rebecca Skloot is a science writer living in Memphis. She has been published in a wide variety of magazines, covering topics that range from goldfish surgery to the wild dog packs of Manhattan. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is her first book. She spent more than 10 years researching and writing the book, which became an immediate best-seller after it was published last spring.

Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a young African American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. The cancer cells were taken from her body, without her knowledge or permission, preserved, grown and studied in laboratories, where they became known as HeLa cells. Because these cells have the unique ability to continue replicating they have been widely used in medical research, and have been instrumental in a variety of medical breakthroughs and scientific advances. In fact, a University of Arkansas researcher is currently using HeLa cells to study the effectiveness and toxicity of drugs used to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

HeLa cells are part of a multi-million dollar industry, but Henrietta Lacks’ family has never shared in any profits made directly from these cells; they didn’t even learn of the cells’ existence until decades after her death. In her book, and in her lectures, Skloot points out that Henrietta Lacks played a vital role in modern medicine and the biotech industry, but her children still can’t afford health insurance.

Rebecca Skloot is the founder and president of The Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which she created, in part, to raise funds to provide the Lacks family aid in covering the cost of health insurance. The foundation also hopes to offer assistance to other African Americans in need who are pursuing an education in science and medicine.

The University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected The Devil's Highway by Luis Urrea for the 2009 reading program.

Luis Urrea, authorThe Devil's Highway, Luis Urrea of The Devil’s Highway, will meet with readers from the university and northwest Arkansas communities Thursday, Oct. 15, and Friday, Oct. 16, as part of the first “One Book, One Community” program. One Book, One Community is designed to engage readers in a year-long conversation about the book and the issues it raises.

The Devil’s Highway was a national bestseller in 2004 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. It recounts the deadly odyssey of 26 men who tried to cross the border from Mexico into the Sonora desert of southern Arizona. Only 12 survived the six-day ordeal. The book was named to “best book” lists for 2004 by the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, the Kansas City Star and many other publications.

Urrea will meet with university students and others taking part in the One Book, One Community program for two sessions, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. and from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Giffels auditorium. That evening he will present a public lecture on the book and the issues of illegal immigration it raises at 7 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development Auditorium; overflow seating will be available in the Willard J. Walker Hall Auditorium.

The Fayetteville Public Library is encouraging book groups in northwest Arkansas to join the One Book, One Community program and add The Devil’s Highway to their reading lists. At noon on Friday, Oct. 16, Urrea will be the featured speaker at the library’s annual “Gathering of the Groups” luncheon. He is also scheduled to appear at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street for a book-signing event at 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

 Luis Alberto Urrea is an award-winning poet and essayist and author of 11 books. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and American mother, and he uses his dual-culture experiences to explore themes of love, loss and triumph, as well as political and cultural issues. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Organizers of One Book, One Community chose The Devil’s Highway as the initial book in the program because they felt it raised timely and important issues for northwest Arkansas and the nation.

“The book raises important issues that people concerned about the sanctity of life, human rights and immigration will find very compelling," said David Jolliffe, the Brown Professor of English Literacy.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, the Bernice Jones Professor of Community, agreed and said that Urrea’s presence on campus will add an extra dimension to the discussion of these issues.

“Having an opportunity to engage someone who had spent a great deal of time researching and talking with the range of actors in this complicated story is a unique opportunity for the campus and community.”

Luis Urrea’s visit also coincides with Hispanic Heritage month.