Participate in the Pulitzer Dialogues

Read 5 Pulitzer Titles in 5 Months!

To commemorate the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, six libraries from across New Mexico are partnering with the New Mexico Humanities C...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Librarians from across the state meet to attend workshop on facilitation and the Pulitzer Prizes Initiative

After an informal meet-and-greet over dinner in Albuquerque, facilitators and librarians from hosting libraries in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Clovis, Gallup, Deming and Las Cruces came together for a facilitator's workshop at the New Mexico Humanities Council last weekend.

The workshop addressed best practices for facilitating book discussions. Led by Dr. Jesse Alemán, (not pictured) Professor of American Literary Studies and Director of Literature at the University of New Mexico, who shared guidelines and best approaches for facilitators. 

The workshop began with introductions, an overview and introduction of the Pulitzer Dialogues (this blog), led by a recent graduate from New Mexico Highlands University who is also interning with the NMHC.

Librarians at the workshop were asked to navigate the blog, to share posts and comments, and to test it out.  They also were asked what they thought the intent of this blog should be.

Aside from promoting the Pulitzer Dialogues Reading and Discussion programs, this blog also is intended to invite the public, along with the hosting libraries, to read and discuss the five selected Pulitzer works.

The blog also should enable broader participation for those who cannot attend the book group discussions in participating communities and to engage conversations from all parts of the state. 

And that means you. So jump in, start reading these books with us and share your thoughts.

After a short break, we continued the workshop to talk about the book selection of the five Pulitzer winners and finalists chosen by the NMHC.  Many have asked how we arrived at these five novels:  Beloved, The Stories of John Cheever, Plague of Doves, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Lovely, Dark, Deep.

The NMHC with the generous support of the Pulitzer Campfire Initiative grant chose these novels because we wanted to share great literature written by those authors with underrepresented voices and perspectives. 

We also wanted texts that address a diverse range of topics that often don't get discussed, that explore themes and topics that may present challenges for discussions, to get readers out of their comfort zones and to reflect and begin to understand the human condition through literature.

Each hosting library received twenty copies of each of the five selected Pulitzer novels to distribute to their patrons. Each library will invite their community to read all five books and attend all five monthly reading discussions starting in April.  Start times vary by library. 
We ended the workshop by reading and discussing Kate Chopin's short story Désirée's Baby,” facilitated by Jesse Alemán. As an exercise for facilitators and librarians, our conversations showed how the story explored the destructive and ambiguous nature of racism. 

Here at the office we are reading Beloved along with the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, NMThey are the first among the participating libraries to start their Pulitzer Dialogue reading and discussion program, which will be held on Thursday, April 14.  We'll be sharing posts on Toni Morrison's Beloved along the way.  

Whether you can physically attend the book discussions or not, we hope you will join us in further discussions on this blog.

Monday, March 28, 2016


“2016 Reading Challenge - Read 5 Pulitzers in 5 Months!”
New Mexico Humanities Council and Selected Libraries Across the State of New Mexico will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes. Thomas Branigan Library is one of six libraries across the state and many around the country hosting special programs to commemorate the event.  
We invite you to join in and be part of the celebration!  We will read and discuss one Pulitzer (either a finalist or prize-winner) novel each month.  These novels represent different historical periods, regions and cultures, but all of them reveal meaningful perspectives on ourselves, our own culture and the world we live in.
  The titles we will be discussing:
April 14 - “Beloved”- Toni Morrison
May 12 – “The Stories of John Cheever” - John Cheever
June 9 – “The Plague of Doves” - Louise Erdrich
July 14 – “Lovely, Dark, Deep” - Joyce Carol Oates
August 18 – “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” - Junot Diaz
The discussions will be held on Thursdays at 2:00pm in the library board room.  
Reserve your place in the discussions and pick up a copy of the books by contacting the Reference Department @ 575/528-4005 or email #Pulitzer100

Thomas C. Donnelly Library Las Vegas, NM

Thomas C. Donnelly Library, New Mexico Highlands University, located in Las Vegas, NM, is looking forward to beginning the Read Five in Five Months Pulitzer Prize reading challenge. This will be Donnelly Library’s fifteenth reading and discussion program. Previous reading groups at Donnelly Library have ranged in subject from American Civil War History to New Mexican Literature to Cancer Research. This is Donnelly’s first time partnering with the New Mexico Humanities Council on a reading and discussion series, and we hope to get many participants involved reading these compelling works of award winning fiction. 

The reading group facilitator is Brandon Kempner, associate professor of English at New Mexico Highlands University. Dr. Kempner teaches a variety of classes on American Literature. His research interests include 21st century American literature, genre fiction, and zombies. 

Our current program, A Comedy, a Tragedy, and an Adaptation: A Shakespeare Reading and Discussion Group, will have its third and final meeting at 6:00 pm on April 7, 2016. At this meeting we will be discussing Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. New members are always welcome to join our lively discussions. 

If you are in the Las Vegas area and would like more information about our current reading program or about the upcoming, exciting Pulitzer Prize reading program, please contact April Kent, Head of Public Services at 505-454-3139 or at These programs are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Read 5 Pulitzer Titles in 5 Months!

To commemorate the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, six libraries from across New Mexico are partnering with the New Mexico Humanities Council to present a five month reading and discussion series centered on five works of fiction deemed among the best of the best by Prize judges over the years.Each library will host a program designed to challenge and engage members of its respective community to read and discuss one Pulitzer Prize novel each month-novels that represent different historical periods,regions, and culture but that all reveal meaningful perspectives on ourselves, our own culture, and the world we live in.
"The New Mexico Humanities Council supports the Pulitzer Campfire Initiative because everybody should have the opportunity to read and enjoy good novels," said Dr. Craig Newbill, executive director of the New Mexico Humanities Council.
"Reading fosters emotional intelligence and enhances social and personal interactions,"Newbill said."The best literature provides for valuable experiences and personal growth. It is enjoyable and personally rewarding to read really good books and share details about life. It is pleasing and not just a theoretical activity."

Visit a participating library for details and to take part in activities and discussions.
Thomas C. Donnelly Library at New Mexico Highlands University 900 University Ave, Las Vegas, NM 87701; 505-454-3322 Reading discussions begin August 2016
The Public Library ABQ-BernCo | South Broadway Library 1025 Broadway SE Albuquerque, NM 87102 (505) 764-1742; Reading discussion begins in August 2016
Clovis-Carver Public Library 701 N. Main St Clovis, NM  88101 575-763-9687; Reading discussions begin May 2016
Marshall Memorial Library in 110 S. Diamond Ave, Deming, NM 88030 575/546-9202; Reading discussions begin May 2016
Octavia Fellin Public Library; 115 W. Hill Ave, Gallup, NM  87301; 505-863-1291 Reading Discussions begin May, 2016
Thomas Branigan Memorial Library; 200 E Picacho Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001, 575-528-4000; Reading discussions begin April, 2016

Let us know how you did, or how you’re doing, by using the hashtag #pulitzer100 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!  We look forward to reading and discussing these novels with you!