Ask Your Library
The Great American Read Lecture Series: Literary Themes -- Other Worlds
Each episode of PBS's The Great American Read will explore one of five overarching literary themes. Join the discussion about why the books we read matter, why we're drawn to these themes and what they tell us about ourselves.
Dr. Rewa Burnham of Trinity Washington University will lead the discussion. This week's theme: Other Worlds. Ages 13 and up.
We love to read stories that take us into worlds unlike our own because they help us make sense of our own world, allowing us to explore ourselves, our desires, our concerns and above all, humanity, through a completely different lens.
These books allow us to escape through a wardrobe door, by spacecraft or even by the power of the mind and explore the unknown. We read these stories because they take us outside our lives and yet make us confront what our roles and actions are in our own universe. They allow us to experiment and test ourselves in situations, without risk or fear of the outcome.
OVERARCHING QUESTION: Why are we so drawn to these novels about other worlds and how do they help us gain insight into our own world?
Rewa Burnham is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Trinity Washington University. She teaches African American literature, multicultural literature, and twentieth century American literature. Her research examines fugitive figures in contemporary African American literature and representations of the body in black women's autobiographical writing. She is currently working on a personal history that highlights similarities between the lives of black women across four generations.
Ph.D. and M.A., English Language and Literature, University of Maryland, College Park; B.A., English and Public Affairs, Trinity College