Maryland Humanities has announced the selection of There There by Tommy Orange for the 2023 One Maryland One Book program. The novel, released in 2018, tells the interconnected stories of a cast of twelve Native characters from across generational lines, as they converge toward the Big Oakland Powwow. Together, the stories give a riveting portrait of the urban Indian experience.
There There was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, and won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award. The book was chosen as this year’s One Maryland One Book by a selection committee of twenty Marylanders, including teachers, scholars, librarians, writers, booksellers, and community workers representing ten counties and Baltimore City. A public call for books under the theme of “Connection” garnered nearly 300 titles, from which the committee then made their selection.
“There There provides us an opportunity to connect with several Native American lives that feel immediate and relevant to the world today,” says Lindsey Baker, Executive Director of Maryland Humanities. “These characters are deeply rooted in their rich, often traumatic histories, yet are instantly recognizable to any reader. Tommy Orange shares their triumphs and struggles with us, creating fully-rounded characters and journeys to follow.”
In the fall, Maryland Humanities will collaborate with partners across the state, including libraries, schools, universities, book clubs, and local Native/Indian organizations to conduct programs where readers can connect with each other and discuss the book’s themes. Maryland Humanities will distribute free copies of There There to partners. Tommy Orange will also visit Maryland for an in-person author event where he will discuss the book with an audience. All events are free.
Tommy Orange is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and was born and raised in Oakland, California. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multigenerational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was also longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Copies of the 2023 One Maryland One Book selection will be dropped off in public spaces in counties across the state as part of “Wandering Books,” a fun campaign introducing readers to There There and the One Maryland One Book program.
Anyone can receive clues about where to find books via Maryland Humanities’ Maryland Center for the Book Facebook page or by following @MDHumanities on Instagram. This year, libraries in Maryland will distribute books throughout their communities. After finding a copy of There There, readers can log on to www.bookcrossing.com and register their book’s ID number. Then, they can post a comment or review after reading.
Afterward, readers can leave the book somewhere public for another reader to find and enjoy. Instructions are located inside the book cover. Participation is free. Those who register books will be automatically entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Bookshop.org and must include their name and email to be eligible.
“When we read a great book, we can’t wait to share the experience and talk about it with others. That’s one of the joys of reading,” said Maryland Humanities on their website. “In that spirit, through our Maryland Center for the Book program, Maryland Humanities created One Maryland One Book (OMOB) to bring together diverse people in communities across the state through the shared experience of reading the same book. We invite readers to participate in book-centered discussions and related programs at public libraries, high schools, colleges, museums, bookstores, and community and senior centers the state.”
OB programs, including an author tour, occur each year in the fall. A calendar of free public events will be available online beginning this summer.
Maryland Humanities’ One Maryland One Book program has brought communities together since 2008 through shared reading experiences. The program encourages dialogue, promotes understanding, and builds a stronger sense of community. Every year, Maryland Humanities selects a book that reflects themes relevant to the state and that can foster essential discussions.
Last year’s One Maryland One Book selection was The Book of Delights by Ross Gay, a collection of essays celebrating life’s small joys. The program featured over 150 events, including discussions, workshops, and author visits. The program was offered in partnership with over 100 organizations, including libraries, museums, schools, and book clubs.
Maryland Humanities is a nonprofit organization that connects people to the humanities to inspire learning, create dialogue, and build community. Maryland Humanities seeks to promote a deeper understanding of Maryland’s history, culture, and current issues through its programs.
The One Maryland One Book program is just one of the many programs offered by Maryland Humanities. Other programs include the Maryland History Day, the Veterans Book Group, the Maryland Humanities Book Club, and the Maryland Center for the Book.
Maryland Humanities’ announcement of the 2023 One Maryland One Book program selection has been met with excitement and anticipation from readers nationwide. The program offers a unique opportunity for readers to connect with each other and the book’s themes. By providing free copies of There There to partners and dropping off copies in public spaces, Maryland Humanities is making the book accessible to readers of all backgrounds.
Maryland Humanities’ website states, “We believe that humanities experiences can help people see beyond their limited perspectives and connect more deeply with their communities and the wider world. Through our programs and partnerships, we strive to promote a more informed, engaged, and empathetic Maryland.”
With There There as the 2023 One Maryland One Book selection, readers can look forward to engaging in meaningful conversations about the urban Indian experience and connecting with others through the shared reading experience.