Common Reading Events
The Common Reading Program is made possible through the generous support of the Shepherd University Foundation.
Friday, Feb. 8th – 7:00 pm @ Reynolds Hall
“Under the Sun” – (2015) by Vitaly Mansky; in Korean; 106 min.
Presented in conjunction with the Shepherdstown Film Society. Post-film discussion led by Dr. Marat Akopian.
“Critics’ Pick! Startling and chilling.”—The New York Times
“Fascinating; a revealing act of subversion.”—Variety
“The script of this extraordinary and revealing film, about an ordinary family in Pyongyang, was assigned to the filmmakers by the North Korean authorities. The crew was accompanied at all times by minders ‘to prevent us from getting lost’; the locations were pre-selected; the performances orchestrated to depict suitably fervent levels of patriotism. All the footage was scrutinized by DPRK officials to check for mistakes in showing a typical family in ‘the best country in the world’. It’s no wonder that the smiles start look a little forced. What’s more unexpected is just how much Russian documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky is able to reveal despite, and often because of, the stringent restrictions imposed upon him.”—Screen Daily
Wednesday, Sept. 5th – 7:00 pM
Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History & Education Auditorium
“We Will Never Do Without Family”: Hyeonseo Lee’s Escape from North Korea – lecture by Dr. David Gordon
Hyeonseo Lee’s story is rooted in the history of Korea, an ancient civilization that was tragically divided into north and south after World War II. Lee and later her mother and brother escaped North Korea, a land that both flattered and brutalized its people. This lecture compares Lee’s description of North Korea with the totalitarian regime depicted in George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, finding many similarities and one major difference: In North Korea, family serves as a quiet but secure lifeline for its citizenry.
David B. Gordon holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Hawaii and has taught at Shepherd University since 2000. His research focuses on modern East Asian intellectual history. In 2009, his college-level biography of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yatsen was published by Pearson.
Friday, Sept. 14 – 9:00 aM
Annual Breakfast on the Porch, Scarborough Library Front Porch, until 11 a.m. – Recognizing the 12th anniversary of the Common Reading Program. Sponsored by Scarborough Library and Student Library Advisory Board
Monday, October 1st – 7:00 pM
Frank Center Theater
Hyeonseo Lee – Author Visit & Book-Signing
Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean defector and the author of the 2018-2019 Common Reading “The Girl with Seven Names”, will speak at Shepherd University as the featured event of this year’s common reading program. Book signing and refreshments to follow. Sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation. Shareable Poster
Monday, Nov. 5th – 6:00 PM
Robert C. Byrd Center For Congressional History & Education Auditorium
“The Defector: Escape from North Korea” – Film Screening