Participate in Meredith’s Summer Reading Program!

summer reading

Meredith College’s 2014 Summer Reading Program selection is Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. Alumnae are invited to read along with the campus community.

The historical fiction novel tells the story of the Grimke sisters, who were abolitionists and supporters of women’s rights in 1830s. It is richly descriptive, and the alternating narrators – Sarah Grimke and a young slave girl called “Handful” – offer thought-provoking perspectives on daily life and issues of the time.

The committee charged with selecting the summer reading book found that The Invention of Wings will engage students with a compelling story, attract a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and opportunities for involvement, and address a topic of importance to the College.

The Summer Reading Program enhances the academic climate on campus by engaging incoming first-year students in a shared intellectual endeavor with the entire campus community, including students, faculty, staff, and alumnae.

Summer Reading Author Participates in English Department Programs

As part of her visit to Meredith’s campus, author Gwendolyn Oxenham treated students in the department of English to an inspiring discussion of writing and creativity. Oxenham spoke about the process of crafting her memoir, Finding the Game, and shared writing tips and prompts to help students enliven details in their writing. The author also advised Meredith’s aspiring writers to read as much as possible, reminding them, “No one can become a successful writer without reading great writing.”

Afterward, Leslie Maxwell, ’01, introduced a lunch-time discussion about the creative process, where Oxenham answered question from students, faculty, and alumnae. “There were times I was grateful for the written medium,” Oxenham told a faculty member who asked about her transition from film production to writing. “There were some wonderful moments we didn’t get on camera, and the book gave me a chance to include those moments.”

Students who attended the class and luncheon were inspired by Oxenham’s passion for writing and teaching and enjoyed the chance to work closely with the author. “As a writer, I often feel self-conscious about allowing the eyes of others to review my work,” said Skye Hakes, a communications major pursuing a minor in professional writing. “But Ms. Oxenham assured her audience than any good writer goes through this conflict of the mind and heart.” English major Julia Tilley said that Oxenham, “reassured me that I can find a story to write about. And once I find it, I have to commit to it with all my heart.”

– Ashley Hogan

Summer Reading Author Gwendolyn Oxenham to Speak at Meredith

Gwendolyn Oxenham, author of “Finding the Game,” will speak at Meredith College on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium.

Oxenham’s book was Meredith’s 2013 Summer Reading Program selection. “Finding the Game” and the accompanying documentary follow Oxenham and her friends around the world in search of pickup soccer, reflecting a unique combination of her writing and athletic skills.

Seating in Jones Auditorium is limited; live video viewing is available in Jones Chapel. A public reception will be held in Johnson Hall Rotunda following the lecture.

About the Author
Oxenham, who was a starter and leading goal-scorer on Duke University’s soccer team, became the youngest Division I athlete in NCAA history at age 16. When the women’s professional soccer league ended shortly after Oxenham graduated, her U.S. soccer career was over. First, she played professionally for a Brazilian women’s soccer team, and then she earned an M.F.A. in creative writing.

In “Finding the Game,” Oxenham describes pickup games in 20 different countries, including Bolivia, Kenya and Iran. Oxenham traveled the world to play and film informal soccer games and to observe the ways that people connect and enrich their lives through the sport. The book describes her adventures and, more generally, shows how a determined and creative person can pursue ambitious goals, adjust to disappointments and circumstances, and ultimately find success.

Summer Reading Program Events
In addition to the lecture, the following activities related to Meredith’s 2013 Summer Reading Program will be held on campus.

“Pelada” Film Showing
August 25, 8:30 p.m.
Meredith Soccer Field

Pickup Soccer Activity
August 28, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Begins on Main Campus Drive

The Summer Reading Program was created to enhance the academic climate on campus and to engage incoming first year students in a shared intellectual endeavor with the entire campus community, including students, faculty, staff and alumnae.

For more information on Meredith’s Summer Reading Program, meredith.edu/summer-reading.

-Melyssa Allen, Marketing

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2013 Summer Reading Book Selected

The Summer Reading Program Committee is pleased to announce the title selected for the fall of 2013:  Finding the Game by Gwendolyn Oxenham, and its companion video, Pelada.  The film documents Oxenham’s travels around the world to find pick-up soccer games and players passionate about the sport.  The book expands upon the many cultural encounters – in a Bolivian prison and in a poor African neighborhood, for example – that the game inspired.

At the age of 16, Oxenham joined the women’s soccer team at Duke University.  She spent four years developing her game and preparing to play professionally.   The professional league folded just as she was graduating, so she reconsidered her goals and earned a degree in creative writing.  The book is a memoir focused on her dreams, her disappointments, her adjustments and her achievements.  The film, funded by Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, demonstrates Oxenham’s drive to create, to compete, and to celebrate the ways that people can connect via their passions.

We hope you will read the book with us and participate in the related activities!

Summer Reading Author Jeannette Walls to Speak at Meredith

Jeannette Walls, author of Meredith College’s 2012 Summer Reading Book selection “The Glass Castle,” will speak at Meredith early in the Fall 2012 semester. Walls’ lecture, titled “The Glass Castle: Demon Hunting and Other Life Lessons,” will be held on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium.

In “The Glass Castle,” Walls describes growing up in the desert of the American Southwest and then in a West Virginia mining town with her three siblings and the brilliant, unorthodox, irresponsible parents who manage at once to neglect them, love them and teach them to face their fears.

The story is at times harrowing and at times hilarious as the children go without food and indoor plumbing yet are encouraged to read Shakespeare and dream of the beautiful glass house they will all one day build. Despite all her hardships, Walls develops the determination to leave West Virginia on her own at 16, move to New York City, enroll in Barnard College and eventually become a well-known columnist for New York magazine and MSNBC.com and a television personality.

Walls’ memoir has been a New York Times best-seller for more than four years, has sold 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, been translated into 22 languages, and is being made into a movie by Paramount. It was named one of the “Top 10 Books of the Decade” by Amazon, and has won numerous awards.

The Presidential Lecture Series event, which is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, is free and open to the public.

Meredith’s Summer Reading Program is now in its fourteenth year. Visit meredith.edu/summer-reading for more information.

-Melyssa Allen, Marketing

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