Immigration Debate the Timely Focus of One Book, One Community Selection

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The national debate over immigration policy and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is heating up and is expected to be a central topic of political discussion this fall.

That makes The Book of Unknown Americans, a widely acclaimed novel by Cristina Henríquez, a particularly timely choice for this semester’s University of Arkansas One Book, One Community project. This is the ninth year for the project, in which members of the university and Northwest Arkansas community are encouraged to read and discuss a single book during the fall semester. The book is assigned reading in several U of A classes.

In a video message to the campus and community U of A Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz recommends the book, saying it “can place you squarely in an immigrant’s shoes, experiencing this country through new eyes.”

The Book of Unknown Americans tells the stories of Latino immigrants, living legally in Delaware, and of their family lives, aspirations, struggles, successes and failures – their lives revealing the dreams and the dangers of the immigrant experience.

“The One Book, One Community committee works hard to find a book that can enhance a subject that people are concerned and talking about, and The Book of Unknown Americans certainly fits that description,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the committee. “We are also organizing several public events on the subject of immigration that we hope people on campus and in the community will engage in and further our local discussion.”

Henríquez will be on campus to give a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in Hillside Auditorium, and will meet with members of area book clubs at the Fayetteville Public Library for a luncheon on Friday, Nov. 3.

The Book of Unknown Americans was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and one of Amazon’s Top 10 Books of the Year. It was the Daily Beast Novel of the Year, a Washington Post Notable Book, an NPR Great Read, and was chosen one of the best books of the year by BookPage, Oprah.com, and School Library Journal.

Henríquez is the daughter of a Panamanian immigrant father. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Chicago.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair
One Book, One Community
479-575-3777, kfitzpa@uark.edu

David Jolliffe, Co-Chair
One Book, One Community
479-575-2289, djollif@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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