THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick is encouraging the entire campus to read the same book - at the same time.
This month staff and students are being encouraged to pick up Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year 2012, the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year, and longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.
The ‘One Campus, One Book’ initiative is encouraging all members of the campus community to read the selected book and to talk to each other about it, whilst enjoying a number of events which will take place on campus over the course of the academic year based around selected works.
Acclaimed author Donal Ryan, a graduate of UL, spoke of the honour of having his book chosen as the first title in this initiative by his alma mater, and highlighted the value of fiction in our world.
“Imagine the world without fiction? Imagine how clinical and devoid of nuance our descriptions of ourselves would be; imagine how hard it would be to gain a profound, intuitive, visceral understanding of the world around us and our relationships to it and with each other.
“Fiction is one of the vital tools that mankind has developed to come to terms with himself – to disassemble the elements of human experience, to examine them, and re-assemble them in the form of a narrative, a story, and in so doing, hopefully, to illuminate the darkness, the unknown and the things we struggle to understand.”
Lawrence Cleary, writing consultant for the Regional Writing Centre at UL, said such initiatives “promote a sense of community, promote literacy, learning and intellectual engagement across disciplinary divides”.
Professor Sarah Moore, associate vice president academic, said: “What better way to nourish the imagination than through reading wonderful novels which allow us to get inside the heads of people whose lives we might otherwise not be able to understand?” She said the initiative is “the beginning of something very special”, and praised an excellent first choice of book in The Spinning Heart.