UCLA Marathon Reading 2017 – Beloved by Toni Morrison
For 12 years, the UCLA English Department’s annual tradition of hosting a yearly read-a-thon has eluded the Westwood literary community. For years, read-a-thons have been popular events for literary and educational groups as a way of increasing literacy awareness and to raise money for worthy causes. Generally, read-a-thons encourage participants to read as much as they can for a designated amount of time.
The first UCLA Marathon Reading began in 1996 with Herman Melville’s masterpiece Moby Dick and consisted of a 24 hour reading of the novel with almost 1,000 attendees. At UCLA, Marathon Reading events call for volunteers to read portions of a novel in short 10 minute increments while the rest of the community is invited to watch and listen, as brave volunteers bring different works of fiction to life through their voice. Marathons have also featured special guests (Rosa Parks was once in attendance to a reading of Invisible Man), panels, and special performances. All special presentations aside, the main entertainment at a Marathon Reading is the novel itself.
After quite a bit of a dry spell, and after months of preparation asking community members for reading suggestions, the UCLA English Department has announced Beloved, by Toni Morrison, as this year’s read-a-thon novel, officially reintroducing the event. Due to outpours of support, Beloved was selected as the perfect novel to kick-off the read-a-thon because of its relevance to the “bout of racial upheaval we are [currently] experiencing as a nation.”
The event is set to take place on May 19th (this Friday) at Rolfe Courtyard and begins at 9:30 a.m but it is expected to go on late into the evening.
Event organizers promise exciting guest speakers, a bake sale, and raffle giveaways. If you’re interested in volunteering to read please visit the English Department’s Marathon Reading page.
If you plan on attending feel free to bring a sleeping bag, food, and a copy of Beloved to follow along with the reading. For directions please see the map below, or for a more high-tech, accurate version visit Google Maps.