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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Tom Franklin novel selected for 2012 UM Common Reading Experience

The national best-seller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, written by UM assistant professor of fiction writing and award-winning author Tom Franklin, has been selected for the 2012 UM Common Reading Experience, a program designed to unite the campus through discussion about a book.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter meets all the criteria for our common reading book,” said Leslie Banahan, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. “Tom Franklin’s novel not only meets these objectives, but it’s also a beautifully written story about modern-day race relationships and friendships in a small town. It has mystery, murder, memorable characters and more.”

Franklin will speak at Freshman Convocation, and plans are underway for numerous related events. Last year’s Common Reading Experience for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot — a national best-seller with themes from race to science ethics — included a wide variety of interdisciplinary events: a documentary film screening, a staged reading and modern dance by Department of Theatre Arts faculty, and a panel discussion titled “Medical Ethics, Race and the Black Community” with African American studies faculty. In addition, biology, pharmacology, sociology and African American studies faculty lectured on the “Use of HeLa and Other Cancer Cell Lines on the UM Campus,” “HeLa Cells: A Biological Perspective” and “Voodoo Theory: Why the Lacks Family Says Things That Make You Scratch Your Head.”

“The purposes of the Common Reading Experience support the goals of our university: building community around academic inquiry, introducing students to the ways in which different disciplines approach problems, broadening perspectives, and increasing awareness of the unresolved conflicts and history that make up our culture,” said Robert Cummings, director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric.

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