Common Reading Program

Program Description and Goals

New first-year students received a copy of the selected text during your Advising and Registration Days session, giving you the opportunity to read the book by the start of your first semester at St. Cloud State. The purpose of this program is to provide a common academic experience for all new first-year students, which integrates both curricular and co-curricular activities throughout the year. In addition to events around the book at your New Student Orientation in August, many of you will use the book in at least one class you take during your first year, and all of you will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of programs throughout 2014-15 related to the book and issues it raises.

Your participation in the common reading program will:

  • introduce you to the nature of collegiate academic life.
  • cultivate a sense of community with your new home at SCSU.
  • help you develop connections with faculty and staff  and other students at the university.
  • get you involved in campus activities with related programs and events.
  • enrich your classroom experience with an shared intellectual experience that cuts across courses and co-curricular opportunities.

About the Book

Oryx & Crake Book CoverYour Common Reading for 2015-16 is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Would you rather live disease-free but in a community where your activity is completely monitored and you have no real privacy OR live where you are free to go where you please and do as you please but where you do not have any protection from disease, old age, and environmental threats?  Oryx and Crake is a dystopian novel that tackles some important social problems of our age, from genetic engineering and environmental degradation to social class and privilege, all through the lens of a friendship between two young men as they come of age together in a world that leads them to question what it means to be truly human.

About the Author:

Margaret Atwood is an award-winning Canadian author who has published fourteen novels and numerous collections of poems and short stories. Many of her novels, including Oryx and Crake, take their inspiration from things that have happened or are currently happening, and then allow them to play out in often disturbing ways. In doing so, they ask readers to think about the implications of technologies, political philosophies, and social mores. Atwood maintains an active presence on the internet, especially Twitter and Facebook, where she regularly interacts with her readers and fans.

Other Resources:

Atwood’s Website:

Our Digital Exhibit for Oryx and Crake:

KVSC radio interview:

Margaret Atwood Portrait

Margaret Atwood, Author

Scholarship Competition

Congratulations to the following winners:

1st Prize ($500 spring award) - Nick O'Hara

2nd Prize ($250 spring award) - Celia Mix

3rd Prize ($125 spring award) - Franklin Twumasi

4th Prize ($125 spring award) - Shayde McKay

Author Visit

Margaret Atwood visited St. Cloud State University November 19.  For detailed information, please click here.