The Real Lit[erature]: Reading for Social Justice book club will host a Skype conversation with Dashka Slater — author of the young adult novel “The 57 Bus” — on March 13. The club is made possible by collaboration between the Center for Equity and Inclusion and the UW Tacoma Library.
The Real Lit[erature]: Reading for Social Justice book club was formed in the summer of 2018 after the CEI and UWT libraries realized that their goals and visions for students aligned well. The club is envisioned as a thematic reading and discussion program to engage UWT students through literature-based outreach. The club also aims to create honest conversations about current social justice issues in works of fiction.
“[At the CEI], we’re always about trying to create different ways to include students who wouldn’t necessarily come to a specific event,” said Nedralani Mailo, program support supervisor for the CEI. “There’s a lot of students who already go to the library and go to the CEI. This partnership with the library … is just a great way to bring these two groups of students together.”
Similar to the CEI’s non-fiction based Real Talks, the club was intentionally given the name “real.” The club meets every other Thursday in the Chihuly Room in SNO 270 from 12:30–1:30 p.m. Last autumn quarter, the club hosted a similar Skype discussion with Angie Thomas — the author of “The Hate U Give.” During this event, attendees discussed several topics ranging from the importance of community to police brutality.
“I think for this last book, there was a lot of learning about different gender identities that some people hadn’t experienced,” said Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman, reference and instruction librarian at UWT. ” I think there’s an educational component [to these discussions] as well.”
The Skype conversation with Slater is open to the entire UWT community, including staff and faculty. The discussion will be centered around issues of gender identity, restorative justice and hate crimes. According to Jacobsen Kiciman, the talk will be similar to fall quarter’s Skype event, including Slater discussing her book and an open forum for attendees to ask questions.
For spring quarter, the Real Lit[erature] club will be discussing “Darius The Great Is Not Okay” by Adib Khorram and its themes of depression, first and second generation immigrant experiences, family and acceptance. As part of this, the library and the CEI will be partnering up with the Student Counseling Center to help inform students of what resources are available to them.
“Really the point of it is to engage in conversation and to learn something new [and] to expand understanding and dialogue,” said Alaina Bull, first year experience librarian at UWT. “Really what we’re hoping is for more people in the UW Tacoma community to get a little bit more understanding [and] feel more comfortable engaging in conversations that can feel uncomfortable. That desperately needs to happen.”
In a previous version of this article it was stated that attending students will get a free copy of the book at the event. Real Lit[erature] Book Club will not be giving out any books at this event. Free books are distributed at the start of the quarter. If you are interested in reading next quarter’s selection “Darius the Great is Not Okay” and receiving a free copy of the book, please sign up here.