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 Tuesday, September 26, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


One Book, One Boulder: "When the Emperor was Divine"
By Erin Frazier, Community Liaison and Programs Coordinator

Across Boulder, everyone's reading "When the Emperor was Divine" by Julie Otsuka. The second year of "One Book, One Boulder" introduces this tale of life in the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II to a community-wide audience. Otsuka tells the story of the camps through five chapters, each representing the point of view of a single member of the same family. We see the practical approach of a mother trying to keep her family together, and the train ride to the camps through the daughter's eyes. We explore the desert camp's isolation and community through the son, and follow the entire family as they return to their home after the war. Finally, we experience the sorrow and bitterness as the family is reunited with the father, who has been imprisoned separately in another camp.

"I think the selection committee made a wonderful choice in Julie Otsuka's novel," said Erin Frazier of the Office of Community Relations. "The book is short and powerful, and the topic is very timely as Americans begin to closely examine this part of our history."

The 2006 One Book One Boulder series of programs began with the display of Roger Shimomura's "Three Suites on the Internment" in the UMC Art Gallery. Shimomura, a world-renowned visual artist, created these prints portraying his own earliest childhood memories in the camps, and the stories passed down through the detailed diaries of his grandmother. The show hangs in the UMC Gallery through the month of September, and then moves to the Boulder Public Library to be displayed through October.

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the International Film Series and the Conference on World Affairs Athenaeum will host an in-person appearance by Academy Award winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki. He will be screening two films, including "Days of Waiting," the powerful story of one of the few Caucasian women to follow her husband into an internment camp. Through her art, she documented one of America's darkest periods.

On Oct. 10, The Dennis Small Cultural Center will host a screening of the documentary, "Children of the Camps," which captures the experiences of six Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined to internment camps during World War II. The film vividly portrays their personal journey to heal the deep wounds they suffered from this experience.

Author Otsuka, who grew up in California and now lives in New York City, will visit Boulder during the culmination of the month-long project on Oct. 26 and 27. There will be an author's welcome dinner hosted at the East Stadium Club the night of 26th, followed by a reading and audience discussion at Fairview High School on the evening of the 27th.

For more information about reading groups, making reservations for the author dinner and other events associated with this community-wide event, visit the Community Relations One Book, One Boulder web site.

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