One Book One Manchester program to promote reading and literacy

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MANCHESTER, NH  – This fall, the City of Manchester, New Hampshire will be participating in the first annual One Book One Manchester community reading program. This inaugural event features the selection of the book Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, which the entire city will read simultaneously while enjoying pop-up book clubs, discussion groups, exhibitions, storytelling, and more!

One City One Book programs take the idea of a localized book discussion club and expand it to cover a whole city.

Programs typically involve book discussion sessions, scholarly lectures on the book or related topics, a visit by the author, exhibits, related arts programming and integration into school curricula.

“I’m excited to announce the One Book One Manchester community reading program,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “Books help all of us to see the world from different perspectives and develop connections. To have residents from across the Queen City come together and read the same story is incredibly powerful, and will help to further strengthen our literary community. One Book One Manchester is a wonderful program for our city, and I want to thank all the community partners who worked to make it possible.”

A consortium of City of Manchester departments, local educational institutions, and Manchester businesses have banded together to launch One Book One Manchester. These organizations include:

*   Barnes & Noble
*   City of Manchester Parks and Recreation
*   Jupiter Hall
*   Manchester City Library
*   Manchester Community College
*   Manchester School District’s Adult & Community Learning Program
*   New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA)
*   Office of the Mayor, City of Manchester
*   Palace Theatre
*   The Bookery Manchester

The first step in creating this program was to select the book. NHIA’s Creative Writing Department chose Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West for several reasons, including its literary merits, readability, relevance to Manchester, and uncanny timeliness. Exit West, Hamid’s fourth novel, was one of the five books short-listed in 2017 for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, widely considered the premier award worldwide for fiction writing in English.


From discussion groups, to storytelling to exhibitions, there will be a variety of ways for Manchester residents to participate. For more information about how to get a copy of the book and events around the city, visit our Facebook page @1BOOK1MHT or visit one of the participating organizations.


What: Storytelling Festival

When: October 13, 2 p.m.

Where: NHIA, French Hall, 148 Concord Street, Manchester

The event will feature a variety of forms of storytelling and will be emceed by NHPR’s Peter Biello. This event is free, open to the public, and handicap accessible.

Call for Entries
Submissions for this event are open to the public. The theme of this year’s Storytelling Festival will be “immigration,” a key theme in Exit West. Writers, storytellers, illustrators, and graphic novelists, professional or amateur, are all invited to participate in this Moth Radio Hour-style event. The stories can be true or embellished. Each presenter will be limited to five minutes.

How to Submit
Those interested in participating should send a brief description of their story to by September 23, 2018. Those with imagery accompanying their story should submit their images along with the outline of their story for review.


What: Book Discussion

When: September 13, 7pm

Where: Carpenter Memorial Building, 405 Pine Street, Hunt Room

Join our evening discussion group to discuss the One Book, One Manchester title.

What: Photography Exhibit “The History of Cultural Diversity in Manchester” by Becky Field

When: September 5-October 31; opening reception September 20, 5-8pm (Trolley Night)

Where: Carpenter Memorial Building, 405 Pine Street

The Manchester City Library will host the photography exhibit “The History of Cultural Diversity in Manchester.” An opening reception with the photographer Becky Field will be held the evening of September 20 from 5 to 8pm in the Rotunda of the Carpenter Memorial Building.

What: Around the World Safari with Wildlife Encounters

When: September 20, 6-7:30pm (Trolley Night)

Where: Carpenter Memorial Building,  Auditorium, 405 Pine Street

Come learn about other parts of the world by meeting some four legged ambassadors duing our “Around the World Safari.”

What: Storytime with Terry Farrish

When: September 25, 2018, 3:30 pm

Where: West Manchester Branch Library, 76 South Main Street, 2nd floor meeting room

Come, Listen to local author Terry Farish as she presents a storytime for all ages on the topic of cultural awareness.  Activities and refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 624-6550.

What: Storytime with Terry Farrish

When: September 26, 2018; 3:30 pm

Where: Carpenter Memorial Building, 405 Pine Street, Winchell Room

Come, Listen to local author Terry Farish as she presents a storytime for all ages on the topic of cultural awareness.  Activities and refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 624-6560.


What: Suitcase Stories®

When: September 30, 7pm

Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover Street

The International Institute of New England presents Suitcase Stories® – a traveling live performance series that features foreign and US-born residents sharing refugee and immigrant stories. The format of storytelling in a theatrical setting is especially suited to these powerful tales of real-life experience. The program will be held on September 30t at 7pm at the Palace Theatre. Tickets are available online or at the Palace Theatre box office.


What: Book discussion

When: October 4, 12:30-2pm

Where: Manchester Community College Library, 1066 Front Street

Join MCC for a discussion of the One Book One Manchester community-wide read. The discussion will take place in the MCC library, which is located in the Learning Commons, which is to the left of the reception desk just inside the main entrance of MCC.




“A breathtaking novel…[that] arrives at an urgent time.” –NPR

“It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a road map to our future… At once terrifying and … oddly hopeful.” –Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review

“Moving, audacious, and indelibly human.”

– Entertainment Weekly, “A” rating

A New York Times bestseller, the astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands.

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!