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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary’s English department to hold read-in for students Saturday

The Saint Mary’s English department is inviting students to join them at the island on Lake Marian from 2 - 4 p.m. on Saturday for a “May Day Read-In.” They ask that students bring a blanket and a book of their own and participate in prize drawings which will include Brain Lair Books gift cards, faculty-recommended books written by Asian American women and more.

Students are allowed to bring their own snacks if they wish, but there will also be food provided in exchange for a donation towards South Bend’s “Our Stories, Our Futures” project.

“This organization strives to improve access to diverse literature for children and teens from historically underrepresented communities,” head chair of the English department Ann Marie Short said of the project. “We hope students share our commitment to representation in books and other media, particularly for young people who don’t frequently see themselves reflected in what they read or see on the screen.”

Students who can’t stay long for the read-in but still want to support “Our Stories, Our Futures” can still make a donation and enter their names for a raffle prize.

Short expressed hopes that the read-in would serve as an event to strengthen the bonds of the Saint Mary’s community, especially after a pandemic that has engendered isolation for over a year.

“After the past year, with all the forced screen time and isolation, the faculty in the English department wanted to get us all outside and together, doing something that people normally do alone,” she said. “Although reading is an activity normally done in isolation, it is an experience that connects us — to the writer, to the characters, to others who have read the same book; we thought this event could really capture the spirit of that experience.”

For participants who aren’t avid readers or who don’t have a go-to book to bring to the event, Short offered a recommendation.

“I just finished an amazing collection of essays by Cathy Park Hong called ‘Minor Feelings’,” Short said. “She writes about art and poetry and her experiences as a Korean-American writer and artist. I also really got into pandemic fiction last year and highly recommend ‘Severance’ by Ling Ma. Both of these books are in our basket of prizes for the raffle.”

Since there wasn’t a spring break this semester due to COVID-19, such opportunities that allow maintaining physical distance offer students ways to relax as they prepare for finals season and graduation. Senior and English major Riley O’Mearns looks forward to attending and enjoying the nice weather.

“I’m bringing my computer to work on some class stuff and also my favorite book, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr,” O’Mearns said. “It’s supposed to be nice out and I’m excited to see the professors since it’s been a while since anything was face to face.”