The Lake Oswego Reads program is in its seventh year featuring the compelling tale, Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron. A 2010 Bellwether Prizewinner for Socially Engaged Fiction, the story is set in Rwanda amidst Hutu-Tutsi tensions as seen through the eyes of a gifted athletic young boy whose Olympic dreams run into the harsh reality of genocide.
It is a story sure to prompt discussion and reflection, thanks in large part to the 28 activities the Lake Oswego Public Library has scheduled throughout the town. From a documentary film screening on one man’s survival to a panel discussion on Olympic dreams, the program ensures that conversations in Lake Oswego during the month of February will be centered around this dark chapter in recent history and what we can learn from it.
Here are a few highlights of opportunities to join in the community conversation:
January 7th: Kickoff and Book Giveaway. Bring your library card to receive a free copy of Running the Rift and enjoy some Rwandan cuisine. Limited number of copies are available so arrive early. 6:30 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.
February 1: Presentation by Carl Wilkens. Wilkens was the only American who chose to stay in Rwanda after the genocide began in 1994. Hear his perspective on how this tragedy came to be as well as what life in Rwanda is like today. 7:00 p.m. Lake Oswego City Hall, 380 A Avenue.
February 7: Art Unveiling Reception and Month-long Art Show. See how 19 different artists interpret Running the Rift in original works on display at Graham’s Book & Stationery. Then stroll over to Chrisman Picture Frame & Gallery to see how local high school students incorporated themes of the book into their artwork. Artwork will be on display and for sale for the month of February. 6:00-7:30 p.m. Graham’s Book & Stationery at 460 Second Street and Chrisman Picture Frame & Gallery, 480 Second Street.
February 20: Hear the Author: Portrait of the Author as a Young Rock Hound: How a Scientist Came to Write about Rwanda. Hear firsthand how this scientist-first, author-second, came to write this book. Admission is free but a ticket is required. Tickets will be available at the Lake Oswego Library starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 19. Arrive early. There will be a two ticket per person limit and a Lake Oswego library card is required. 7:00 p.m., Lake Oswego High School, 2501 Country Club Road.
February 25: Trivia Bowl Competition. Enter this team based trivia bowl competition based on the book. Example: what color scarf did Jean Patrick wear? (Answer: green). Prizes will be awarded. 7:00 p.m. Chuck’s Place, 148 B Avenue.
A complete schedule can be found on the Lake Oswego Public Library website.