The 2004 One Book, One Region program concluded in Septemer with a three-day visit from Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, this year’s “one book.”
The Kite Runner is an epic tale of father and sons, of friendship and betrayal that takes readers from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the reality of the present.
Dr. Hosseini’s visit started at Norwich Free Academy on Monday, September 20, where he offered two presentations, one for students and one for the general public. After dinner, he headed up to Eastern Connecticut State University for another speaking engagement. Hosseini began his day on Tuesday, September 21 at Fitch High School where several hundred students from high schools across the region attended an assembly to meet the author and ask him questions. He visited the Groton Public Library in the afternoon where he met with members of the Teen Volunteer Club who had created artistic and literary projects inspired by The Kite Runner.
Each student had an opportunity to explain their project to the author. The day ended at the Groton Senior Center where 400 people gathered to listen to Hosseini read from his book and answer questions ranging from where he finds his characters to what he thinks about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. On Wednesday evening, September 22, Hosseini appeared in Waterford for a final public presentation held at the high school.
Since 2002, a committee of librarians, educators and interested community members has gathered to choose the “one book” for all of eastern Connecticut to read. The goals of the project are – to bring people together to discuss ideas, to broaden the appreciation of reading and to break down barriers among people. This year, libraries offered kite-making workshops, Afghan films, book discussions and lectures about the current situation in Afghanistan over the summer months to prepare residents for the author’s visit. Participants included everyone from teens to seniors, all brought together by the shared experience of reading “one book.”