Ruth Ozeki to Discuss Her Novel September 15

For immediate release:
September 1, 2005

South Hadley, MA--Ruth Ozeki, author of this year's common reading, My Year of Meats, will be on campus to read from and discuss her novel Thursday, September 15, at 7:30 pm at Chapin Auditorium in Mary Woolley Hall.

A week prior to the Ozeki event, on Thursday, September 8, a panel of Mount Holyoke faculty members including Jane Crosthwaite, professor of religion; Sharon Stranford, assistant professor of biological sciences; Ombretta Frau, assistant professor of Italian classics and Italian; and Joshua Roth, associate professor of anthropology will also discuss the novel at 7:30 pm at Gamble Auditorium at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Both events are free and open to the public.

Ozeki is an award-winning filmmaker and novelist whose work has been characterized by U.S.A. Today as "ardent and passionate...rare and provocative." Her first novel, My Year of Meats, was published in 1998 by Viking Penguin and has garnered glowing reviews, awards, and a still-growing readership.

"[The novel] moves gracefully through themes of race, culture, global commerce, the nature of representation, the safety of food, capitalism, family, health, and sex," Mount Holyoke President Joanne V. Creighton wrote in a note to new students. "Like college itself, it shows that discovering new intellectual terrain is both deep and fun, and that often a good question is more important than a definitive answer."

The novel is the recipient of the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Imus/Barnes and Noble American Book Award, and a Special Jury Prize of the World Cookbook Awards in Versailles.

In 2003, Ozeki published her second novel, the widely praised All Over Creation. Ozeki also has strong ties to the Pioneer Valley. She is a 1980 graduate of Smith College, and her mother, Masako Yokoyama Lounsbury, was a Mount Holyoke alumna of the class of 1940.

Since 2000, Mount Holyoke's new students have taken part in a common reading as part of the College's orientation program, receiving copies of the selected book during the summer and participating in discussions after their arrival on campus. The reading helps new students make the transition into the College community by connecting them with other students and to the intellectual life of the campus. Faculty members are encouraged to incorporate the book into their courses.

Previous common readings have been Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, by Azar Nafisi (2004), The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (2003), Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich (2002), How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez (2001), and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams (2000).