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New students, community encouraged to read 'Saints at the River'

5/15/2013

This summer, Austin Peay State University will welcome new students who will register for classes and pick up one of their books that will serve as the common reading assignment for Fall 2013 semester.

The new book is “Saints at the River” by Ron Rash, and the community also is invited to read the book and participate in the campus events and book discussions beginning in September. New student orientation and registration will begin May 18 and continue throughout the summer.

The book was selected for APSU’s annual reading initiative called The Peay Read. One of the highlights of this year’s program will be a special presentation from the author, Ron Rash. He will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26 in the Dunn Center at APSU. The talk is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow his talk.

The Peay Read is designed to provide a unifying experience and contribute to the academic experiences for freshmen students. However, the reading program also offers opportunities for the entire campus community.

“Saints at the River” tells the story of how the small South Carolina town of Tamassee is thrown into the national spotlight after a 12-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River and her body is trapped in a deep eddy. The girl's parents want to attempt a rescue of the body; environmentalists are convinced the rescue operation will cause permanent damage to the river and set a dangerous precedent. Torn between the two sides is Maggie Glenn, a 28-year-old newspaper photographer who grew up in the town and has been sent to document the incident. Since leaving home almost 10 years ago, she has done her best to avoid her father, but now, as the town's conflict opens old wounds, she finds herself revisiting the past she's fought so hard to leave behind.

In addition to the speaking event on Sept. 26, The Peay Read festivities will include a number of other activities centered on the events and themes observed in the book:

Sept. 16: Book discussion luncheon at 12:20 p.m. in the Morgan University Center, Room 103A.

Sept. 18: Book discussion with appetizers, 1 p.m. in the Morgan University Center, Room 306.

Sept. 21: Whitewater rafting trip, with sign-ups in the Foy Fitness and Recreation Center.

Sept. 24: Photojournalism workshop, 2:30 p.m. in the Student Publications Office, located in the Morgan University Center.

Sept. 26: Before his talk, there will be a meet-and-greet, specific to APSU students, with Ron Rash at 3 p.m. in the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center.

Sept. 28: Canoe trip, with sign-ups in the Foy Fitness and Recreation Center.

In addition to the book and panel discussions, other Peay Read student activities and memorabilia include the following:

-- T-shirts with “Saints at the River” printed on them and given to freshmen students enrolled in the APSU 1000 First-Year Experience program, which is including the book in its classroom discussions.

-- Bookmarks with book quotations, which will be used in student discussion groups focused on those quotations.

-- Faculty-student class discussions.

-- Student book reviews, with authors of the best essays and creative projects invited to a dinner with Rash.

A mobile app detailing all events and activities associated with The Peay Read has been developed and can be downloaded via Apple’s iTunes.

For more details about this year’s book reading selection or The Peay Read, visit http://www.apsu.edu/Read/ or visit Peay Read on Facebook.

For more information about the book or Rash’s upcoming talk, contact Dr. Dixie Dennis, chair of The Peay Read committee at APSU, by telephone at 931-221-7415 or by email at dennisdi@apsu.edu. - Dr. Melony Shemberger