Common Book author speaking at Auburn University Sept. 19

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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author of Auburn University’s 2018-2019 Common Book, “One Amazing Thing,” will speak on campus Sept. 19.

Divakaruni is the first female author chosen by Auburn for its Common Book program. “One Amazing Thing” tells the fictional story of a group of people from different cultures and backgrounds who, after becoming trapped together by an earthquake for days, use stories about “one amazing thing” from their lives to help them survive.

The book’s primary themes address cultural and ethnic diversity through storytelling while engaging readers in discussions about prejudice, cultural misunderstandings, and the value of multiculturalism. Additional topics include personal disaster preparedness, government preparation for and response to life-threatening events and the difficulties of leadership in crisis.

Divakaruni will give a keynote address at 7 p.m. at the Auburn University Student Center Ballroom, followed by a question-and-answer session and a book signing. The event is open to the public.

In addition to Divakaruni’s visit, the Common Book program will sponsor a variety of events during the fall semester that celebrate students, faculty and staff from across the world with an emphasis on uniting the campus community. University courses will also incorporate the book into discussions surrounding cultural interactions, immigration, benefits of travel and impacts of natural disasters.

Established in 2010, Auburn’s Common Book Program: One Book One Auburn is designed to create a learning experience that is shared among the students, faculty and staff and foster a sense of community by provoking intellectual discourse and engagement. Each year, a committee of students, faculty and staff contribute to the selection process by reading potential works and engaging in thoughtful discussions before a final selection is made.

The Common Book: One Book One Auburn program is proud to continue its partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Auburn Public Library. By creating a shared reading experience for students, faculty, staff and the broader Auburn community, the program seeks to provide insight into the human condition while developing lifelong habits of intellectual curiosity and engagement. 

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.