“One Book One Community” Returns with Author Micheline Aharonian Marcom

Author Micheline Aharonian Marcom

Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) and William & Mary Libraries are partnering for the 4th year for One Book One Community, an initiative that encourages the community to have a shared reading experience related to a socially relevant book. The 2023 book selection is The New American by Micheline Aharonian Marcom.

Marcom’s novel, regarded as “powerful, heartbreaking” by Publisher’s Weekly and “a tough but necessary and beautiful novel” by Booklist, The New American depicts the adventurous journey of a young Guatemalan American college student who gets deported and decides to make his way back home to California.

One Book One Community events throughout February this year will include book discussions, movie screenings, lectures, and other activities and events related to the book’s theme, culminating in a visit from Marcom on Tuesday, February 21.

The New American is a compelling story that provides an in-depth look at immigration in the United States, a topic certain to spark thoughtful discussions about issues that affect our community,” said Williamsburg Regional Library Director Betsy Fowler. “We’re thrilled to partner with William & Mary Libraries for another year of engaging One Book One Community programming.”

Marcom, who has published seven novels, was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Los Angeles. She has received fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the US Artists’ Foundation. Her first novel, Three Apples Fell From Heaven, was a New York Times Notable Book and Runner-Up for the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction. Her second novel, The Daydreaming Boy, won the PEN/USA Award for Fiction. In 2008, Marcom taught in Beirut, Lebanon, on a Fulbright Fellowship. Marcom splits her time between California and Virginia where she is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She is the founder and Creative Director of The New American Story Project [NASP], a digital oral history project focused on unaccompanied Central American minors who journeyed to the US. 

Front cover of "The New American"

"Micheline Aharonian Marcom's extensive first-person research on the forces of migration that draw people to America brings The New American to life on the page,” said Carrie Cooper, dean of university libraries at William & Mary. “We are honored to welcome her in February to offer the community more insight into the complex issues surrounding immigration.”

The event series begins February 1 with Director of the William & Mary Law School’s Immigration Clinic Stacy Kern Scheerer, who will discuss the current state of immigration law. Other notable events in the series include a quiz program on the US Citizenship Test and a Readers Theater featuring local actors voicing the first-person views of people around the world about immigration and citizenship.

Author Micheline Aharonian Marcom will give the keynote presentation at 6:30 pm on February 21 in the Williamsburg Library Theatre.

One Book One Community programs:

Stacy Kern-Scheerer Lecture: Feb. 1, 6:30 pm – Williamsburg Library & online
Stacy Kern-Scheerer, Director of the William & Mary Law School’s Immigration Clinic, will talk about the people she serves and the state of immigration law.

Book Discussion: Feb. 2, 10:30 am – James City County Library & online
Join us for a Book Discussion, in-person in the Cosby Room of the James City County Library, or virtually on Zoom.

Art House Café Film – La Misma Lune: Feb. 7, 2 pm – Williamsburg Library
When his grandmother dies, a child leaves his rural Mexican village and crosses the border into the U.S. in search of his mother, who is living somewhere in Los Angeles. This heartwarming immigration tale from director Patricia Riggen stars Eugenio Derbez and Kate del Castillo. In Spanish with English subtitles. PG-13. 1hr 46min.

Book Discussion: Feb. 8, 10 am – Williamsburg Library & online
Join us for a Book Discussion, in-person in Room B of the Williamsburg Library, or virtually on Zoom.

Monika Gosin Discussion: Feb. 8, 6:30 pm – Williamsburg Library
Monika Gosin, chair of the Latin American Studies Department at William & Mary, will talk about the politics, economics, and chaos driving immigrants out of Latin America.

Pub Quiz: Feb. 9, 6 pm – James City County Library & online
We’ll provide the food, you provide the answers! Join us for dinner and a quiz on the US Citizenship Test and random bits of US History. Registration required; please call 757.741.3300, option 2 to sign up. Teams of up to 4 individuals can register together or be matched with other players on a new team. Participants can play in person in the Kitzinger Room at the James City County Library or via Zoom. Special thanks to Friends of WRL Foundation for supporting this program.

Documentary – Waking Dream: Feb. 11, 10:30 am – Williamsburg Library
This documentary weaves together the stories of six undocumented young people as they sit in limbo between deportation and a path to citizenship after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rules is rescinded. NR, 52 minutes.

Book Discussion: Feb. 11, 2 pm – James City County Library & online
Join us for a Book Discussion, in-person in the Cosby Room of the James City County Library, or virtually on Zoom.

Book Discussion: Feb. 13, 6:45 pm – Williamsburg Library & online
Join us for a Book Discussion, in-person in Room B of the Williamsburg Library, or virtually on Zoom.

Readers Theater: Feb. 16, 6:30 pm – Williamsburg Library
Local actors and readers voice the first-person views of people from around the world, including the US, about immigration and citizenship throughout our history.

Cinema @ Scotland Street – Queen of Glory: Feb. 20, 6 pm – Williamsburg Library
When her mother suddenly dies, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants must decide between pursuing her education, following her married lover to Ohio, or running her family’s small Christian bookstore in a migrant area of the Bronx. Director Nana Mensah won a Tribeca Film Festival award for this “witty and compassionate love letter to the Bronx.” NR 1hr 18min.

Advancing Social Change Panel Discussion: Feb. 21, 2:00 pm – Sadler Center, Chesapeake A
Join us for a discussion on how literature can be an instrument of social change and a way to advocate for human rights. Featuring: Micheline Marcom, author and professor of creative writing at UVA; Stacey Kern-Scheerer, W&M law professor; and Jennifer Bickham Mendez, W&M sociology professor; moderated by Reves Center director Teresa Longo.

Signature Event: Micheline Aharonian Marcom author visit: Feb. 21, 6:30 pm – Williamsburg Library & online
Author Micheline Marcom will join us for a reading and discussion February 21 at 6:30 pm in the Williamsburg Library Theatre.

Finding Immigration and Naturalization Records Online: Feb. 23, 2 pm – Stryker Center
Retrace the path of your ancestors who immigrated to the U.S. We’ll talk about where to look for ships’ passenger lists and immigration and naturalization records, plus why your family name wasn’t changed at Ellis Island! Register by calling 757.741.3300, option 2.

*For more information about One Book One Community programs, visit wrl.org/onebook or libraries.wm.edu