Author Leanne Howe speaks with a student at the 2010 Read-In.

Author Leanne Howe speaks with a student at the 2010 Read-In.

In 1988 the Department of English initiated the Hampton University Read-In. Its purpose was to offer all segments of the Hampton family an opportunity to focus on one particular book for study and discussion. Beginning with Hampton alumnus Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery, we have read works by African American authors such as Ernest Gaines' A Gathering of Old Men, Octavia Butler's Kindred, Ishmael Reed's Flight to Canada, Gloria Naylor's Mama Day, Jewell Parker Rhodes' Douglass' Women, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and LeAnne Howe, The Miko Kings.

At this point it is fair to say that the annual Read-In is a Hampton tradition. However, it is also plays a significant role in the instructional program. Each spring, for example, most English 101-102 classes read and write about whatever novel has been selected. Many upper-division English courses do as well. However, works are chosen with specific regard to their relevance to other disciplines as well. Usually instructors in History, Political Science, Sociology and other areas also use the work in a wide range of courses. Students and instructors write and deliver papers at the mini-conference held in conjunction with the climactic event, which has almost always been an appearance by the author. Aspiring student writers have the experience of attending a master class and interacting with a famed writer, and the Hampton community as a whole has the chance to read the work, think and talk about it, and then experience its author reading and discussing it himself or herself. In sum, then, the Read-In is a closely integrated event designed to be intellectually meaningful to the entire Hampton family.

2013 Read-In Information

Read-In Activities

Hampton University's Department of English has announced that Jesmyn Ward's novel "Salvage the Bones" has been selected as the 2013 Annual Read-In book. The department of English will host two events March 26-27. These events will feature a lecture by Ward, the 2011 National Book Award Winner, March 26 at 6 p.m. in Ogden Hall and a mini-conference March 27 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. in the McGrew Conference Center.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward, whose novel Salvage the Bones won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction, has been called "fearless and toughly lyrical" (The Library Journal). Her unflinching portrayals of young black men and women struggling to thrive in a South ravaged by poverty and natural disaster have been praised for their "graphic clarity" (The Boston Globe) and "hugeness of heart" (O: The Oprah Magazine). Ward's precise and graceful narratives make her a fitting heir to the rich literary tradition of the American South.

Read more about Salvage the Bones and Jesmyn Ward »

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Hampton University Read-In 2013 Student Contest

Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

2013 Read-In Contest Information