Dal Reads is now on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation and let us know which book from the shortlist you’d like to be the 2014-15 Dal Reads selection. Click on each book cover to learn more about the three books on the short list.
Welcome back to the Dal Reads blog!
We are working hard to plan some exciting Dal Reads events and activities for the 2014-2015 school year! This blog is a forum where you are able to share your thoughts and opinions about this year’s book and find the latest news and updates about the initiative.
What is Dal Reads?
Dal Reads is a campus-wide community reading initiative. We’re encouraging all students and faculty coming to Dalhousie in September 2014 to read the same novel during the summer and we will host related events beginning in the fall. This project is an initiative of Dalhousie’s Libraries with help from students at the School of Information Management.
Similar activities have been happening at public libraries and university campuses across Canada. Dalhousie established Dal Reads in 2009. It is an opportunity for all of Dalhousie to come together in a new way, to promote understanding and connections at the university, and unite over the love of a good book.
How and when can I participate?
We will be releasing our short list of Dal Reads candidates soon, so stay tuned for the opportunity to have your say about the 2014 Dal Reads selection.
We’re in the planning stages of our fall events, but we will post the latest Dal Reads news on this blog as it is available.
On September 8, the first round of discussion about Lawrence Hill’s, “The Book of Negroes” took place!
It was a wonderful experience for those who joined to share their experiences with the text. I personally had the privilege of attending a session in the University Club Pub with Wanda Thomas Bernard, from Social Work and Barb Hamilton-Hinch, from Health and Human Performance. Those who attended this session were able to discuss what really stood out for them from them book, what they personally will take away, and what should we all take away from this book.
I think that the last point is intriguing and can be pondered by all who have read this book.
What lessons / thoughts do we take away from this book that we think the greater community could learn from this book?
There are many different ways that individuals who read “The Book of Negroes” understand the book. Readers of the book discussed what they learned about history, social contexts, and themselves by reading this book.
What have you taken away from reading this book?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!
The Dal Reads blog is pleased to post a contribution from the author, Lawrence Hill.
I was thrilled to hear that The Book of Negroes has been selected for Dalhousie Reads. Part of my enthusiasm stems from fact that much of the novel’s historical underpinnings have to do with the story of the Black Loyalists, before, during and (in the case of those who left Halifax to found the colony of Freetown in 1792) after their time in Nova Scotia. It strikes me as sad and troubling that so few Canadians have been exposed to such an interesting, dramatic and revealing part of our national history. To my way of thinking, high school history classes would be a whole lot more engaging if students had the opportunity to step into the story of the thousands of Blacks who chose to serve the British on the eventually losing side of the American Revolutionary War, and who then had their names entered into the British naval ledger “The Book of Negroes” before sailing to Nova Scotia in 1783, and who then faced such oppression in what they had hoped to be their “Canaan” that 1,200 of them turned around a decade later and left in a mass exodus for Sierra Leone. To me, it’s fascinating that the first “back to Africa” exodus from the Americas took place not from the Caribbean or the United States, as one might imagine, but from the shores of Halifax. Although many Canadians have not been introduced to this part of our history, the good news (in my view) is that when Canadians do have the opportunity to learn about this story, they jump right in and feel quite enriched to expand their awareness.
The other part of my enthusiasm about Dal Reads 2009 is that Nova Scotia feels like a second home to me, and that time and time again Nova Scotians have welcomed me into their homes, libraries, museums, archives, community centres and universities when I have come to do research or to give readings or talks from my books. One of the first literary readings I ever gave was at Dalhousie, when English professor Andy Wainwright invited me in 1993 to read from my just-published first novel, Some Great Thing. I remember being quite touched by the fact that a few people came out to my reading on the Dalhousie campus, despite the wicked snowstorm that had engulfed the city, and that each person there bought a copy of the book. Since then, I have returned many times to Nova Scotia, and am already anticipating the next visit with pleasure.
Thank you for honouring The Book of Negroes by selecting it for Dal Reads 2009, and I hope that the story excites you, and leads you to concur with my wry and playful observation that perhaps Canadian history isn’t so boring after all.
This blog is a forum where you are able to share and your thoughts about Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes (in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, this book is published under the title Someone Knows My Name). All incoming students are encouraged to read this book for September.
This is an exciting opportunity for all upcoming students to be engaged and participate in conversations based on their shared experience of reading the book. By participating in this initiative, you will be in excellent company! Many universities and communities across North America have conducted similar programs, including Northwestern University, Michigan State University, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Keep checking the blog for exciting discussions and lots of interesting information about the book.