Silicon Valley Reads 2023
POSTPONED Tommy Orange Event Postponed
The Feb. 8 author event with Tommy Orange has unfortunately been postponed due to illness.
Please watch for an announcement about a new date.
Pulitzer finalist Tommy Orange – one of the featured authors in this year's Silicon Valley Reads campaign – will visit a Puente Learning Community class on Zoom to talk about his award-winning novel, "There There" and his life experiences. Everyone at the college is welcome to join this online session.
“There There” follows a dozen characters from Native American communities, exploring their interconnected experiences and heritage as they travel to the Big Oakland Powwow. The novel was a 2019 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction.
Orange graduated from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow.
An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California.
(Photo credit: Elena Seibert)
De Anza Hosts Kickoff Event and Euphrat Exhibit
De Anza College was host for the Jan. 26 kickoff for the 2023 Silicon Valley Reads campaign, with an on-campus event featuring three authors whose work aligns with the theme of “Journey to New Beginnings.”
For the community reading campaign's 20th anniversary, organizers said they selected a theme to reflect the community’s readiness to move forward after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 7 p.m. kickoff event was held in person at De Anza’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC) and simultaneously livestreamed by the Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley.
Those attending in person were also welcome to view a related exhibition in the adjoining Euphrat Museum of Art, which will be open from 6-7 p.m. and after the program until 9 p.m. The exhibit, "Spaces of Belonging," features art and poetry by five local artists who have been instrumental in creating "spaces of belonging" and inspiring new beginnings.
During the kickoff event, Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro moderated a conversation with this year’s featured authors.
Tommy Orange's award-winning novel “There There” follows a dozen characters from Native American communities, exploring their interconnected experiences and heritage as they travel to the Big Oakland Powwow.
Amanda Skenandore based “The Second Life of Mirielle West” on the true story of the only leper colony in the continental United States, where thousands of people were forcibly quarantined for most of the 20th century.
Kai Harris wrote the coming-of-age novel, “What the Fireflies Know,” about 11-year-old Kenyatta Bernice and her sister, Nia, who are sent to live with their estranged grandfather after their father dies of a drug overdose.
“These three novels each feature unique journeys that act as mirrors or windows for our diverse community,” said Jill Bourne, library director for the city of San José, who is a co-chair of Silicon Valley Reads.
The Silicon Valley Reads campaign includes dozens of free events to be held at locations across the region, from January through April. Everyone in the De Anza College community is invited to
- Read one or all of the featured books
- Attend events — there's something for everyone
- Engage with others in discussion and share perspectives
“Silicon Valley Reads has enjoyed a dynamic journey since its inception in 2003,'' added Jennifer Weeks, librarian for the Santa Clara County Library District. She is also a co-chair, along with Mary Ann Dewan, superintendent of schools for Santa Clara County, and Michelle Ornat, deputy library director for the city of San José.
“We started as a one book, one community program in 2003 and over the years have broadened our scope to become more inclusive and reflective of the many communities that make up Silicon Valley,” Weeks said.