SMU’s Common Reading program was launched in 2004, upon recommendation by a First-Year Experience Task Force. Each year, a thought-provoking work of fiction or non-fiction is selected for small group discussions and is incorporated into the fall semester curriculum.
Senior Lecturer in English Diana Grumbles serves as the program’s director. The program is an initiative of the Provost’s Office and is also supported by the McGuire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.
The 2014 selection is We Need New Names, by novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, who earned a Master’s Degree from SMU. In an SMU Magazine interview, Bulawayo credited faculty members David Haynes, head of SMU’s creative writing program, and Beth Newman, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, with giving her the courage to pursue her goals.