One book. One campus. One community. That’s the goal of U of G’s second annual Gryphons Read common reading project, beginning this month.
Like a campus-wide book club, the initiative encourages students, faculty and staff to connect with each other and engage in meaningful conversations by reading and discussing the same book.
This year’s selection is David Chariandy’s award-winning novel, Brother.
Brother tells the story of Michael and Francis, sons of Trinidadian immigrants whose father has disappeared and whose mother works double, sometimes triple shifts to make her sons’ lives better in their adopted home. Set in Scarborough, Ont., the story explores issues of race, loss, identity, violence and family.
Prof. Lawrence Hill, School of English and Theatre Studies and chair of the Gryphons Read committee, says he’s thrilled with the selection.
“Gryphons Read is a fabulous way to unite the University and the broader communities. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this second annual event than to read and discuss the novel Brother, and to welcome esteemed and award-winning novelist David Chariandy to campus,” he says.
Under Gryphons Read, Student Experience staff have recruited students as trainers, discussion facilitators and participants, including developing resource materials and overseeing the program’s implementation and evaluation.
Laurie Schnarr, director and special adviser on experiential learning, says, “Students will strengthen their communication skills and their leadership capacity and will have opportunities to meet other new students and build important networks.”
Commenting on Chariandy’s novel, Samantha Brennan, dean of the College of Arts (COA), says, “The writing is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking, and the characters live with you long after the book is over.”
Brother, a national bestseller, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Chariandy also wrote Soucouyant: A Novel of Forgetting (2007) and I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter (2018).
The Gryphons Read study guide and reading groups are facilitated and coordinated by Student Experience staff and volunteers. Program funding comes from the Office of the Provost, the COA dean and the Office of the University Librarian.