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Thousands of students pick up 'The Break'

"Students review their copies of The Break by Katherena Vermette"
Carolyn Thompson, Queen’s Reads Student Coordinator, and Kevin Collins, Coordinator, Student Development, Student Experience Office have been busy handing out the 5,000 copies of author Katherena Vermette's book The Break. (University Communications)

As students settle into the new academic year, they have been invited to pick up a free copy of the book chosen as the focus of this year’s Queen’s Reads common reading program.

Special Queen’s editions of The Break by Katherena Vermette are available for students at locations across campus, including the Student Experience Office and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) office in the John Deutsch University Centre, Stauffer Library, residences and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. Of the 5,000 student copies printed for the program, over 2,000 books had been distributed by the end of Orientation Week. 

“We are thrilled that so many students have picked up the book so far, and we are excited about starting the program,” says Kevin Collins, Coordinator, Student Development, Student Experience Office. “We hope that students will join the conversations we are having as a community about issues of diversity, inclusion, sexual violence, identity and culture. The Break is a powerful story and one that we hope will engage students, as well as faculty and staff, in meaningful discussions, critical thinking and community building.”

The Break, by Winnipeg author Katherena Vermette, tells an intergenerational story of a Metis family as they navigate the effects of trauma. It was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, shortlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads 2017, and is the recipient of the 2017 Amazon First Novel award. 

Programming is planned throughout the academic year. It starts in October with discussion groups focused on the first half of the book. There will also be a panel event on Nov. 8 that will explore Canadian identity during Canada 150, a writing/media contest and a visit from the author in March 2018. 

“The goal of Queen’s Reads is to offer our campus community a unique way of exploring and reflecting on some important issues, and getting involved in thoughtful dialogue,” says Carolyn Thompson, Queen’s Reads Student Coordinator. “You don’t have to have read the book to participate, but it’s a great read, and I encourage students to get a copy and start reading.”

For more information, go to the Queen’s Reads webpage.

The Break explores important messages related to identity, diversity, Indigenous culture, intergenerational trauma, sexual violence and resilience. If support is needed at any time to help readers navigate these topics, there are resources available for students, as well as for faculty and staff.