The annual UCSB Reads is more than a collective opportunity to explore great works, like this year’s selection, “Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea. It’s also a series of events — performances, live readings, panel discussions, film screenings and more that will culminate in the author’s visit to campus at the end of April.
Now in its 11th year, UCSB Reads engages the campus and the Santa Barbara community in conversations about key topics while reading the same book. UCSB Reads is presented by the UCSB Library, in partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor. A committee that included faculty and staff members, administrators and student representatives made this year’s selection.
The program’s first-ever fiction pick, “Into the Beautiful North” tells the story of a young woman who leaves her home in rural Mexico for the U.S. to find men to repopulate her village and protect it from criminals. Urrea uses humor and a clear eye for detail to explore issues of borders, immigration and family.
Here’s a look at events on tap for UCSB Reads 2017:
• Wednesday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. to noon: Chancellor Henry T. Yang, Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall and University Librarian Denise Stephens will hand out free copies of “Into the Beautiful North” to UCSB students. UCSB Library Paseo.
• Thursday, Jan. 26, 6-8 p.m.: Spoken word performances by undocumented and UndocuQueer poets. Co-sponsored with Undocumented Student Services, Resource Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity and the MultiCultural Center. MultiCultural Center Lounge.
• Tuesday, Jan. 31, 4 p.m., “Why Read Fiction,” a panel discussion with Ken Kosik, Harriman Professor of Neuroscience; Sameer Pandya, lecturer in Asian American Studies and Kay Young, professor of English, moderated by Enda Duffy, professor of English. UCSB Library Instruction & Training Room 1312.
• Starting Wednesday, Feb. 1: On-air readings weekdays at noon on KCSB 91.9 FM.
• February through June: An exhibition of graphic novelist Christopher Cardinale’s drawings of Rosario, Mexico, the fictional town depicted in “Into the Beautiful North.” UCSB Library, Ocean Gallery.
• Saturday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m.: A screening of “Seven Samurai,” directed by Akira Kurosawa. Co-sponsored by the UCSB Library & the Carsey-Wolf Center
• Thursday, March 9, 4 p.m.: “Migrant Stories of Immigration & Law in the Community” with attorney Marysol Bretado and members of the Latino community. UCSB Library Instruction & Training Room 1312.
• Thursday, April 13, 4-5 p.m.: “ ‘A Toda Madre (ATM)’: Migrant Dreams and Nightmares in El Norte,” a talk by Miroslava Chávez-García, professor of history. UCSB Library Instruction & Training Room 1312.
• Monday, April 24, 8 p.m.: A free reading, lecture and book signing by “Into the Beautiful North” author Urrea. UCSB Campbell Hall.