ROCK HILL, S.C. - "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha," by Sarah Erdman, was recently selected as the fifth installment of the Common Book Project, sponsored by Winthrop's University College. The book was selected by a committee representing faculty, staff, students and student life professionals. Incoming freshmen will be required to read the book.
Sarah Erdman, a Peace Corps worker, spent two years in Nambonkaha, a northern Ivory Coast village, beginning in 1998. Erdman’s book deals with issues she faced, from monitoring malnutrition in babies to combating the spread of AIDS. The book was selected for Borders’ Original Voices program, Booksense 76 list and Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. It also won a New York Times Editor’s Choice Award.
According to Jennifer Solomon, acting dean of University College, "The committee members chose this book as Winthrop’s 2008-09 common book for a number of reasons, but especially because it is both international and personal. Winthrop students will understand another culture, that of the people of Nambonkaha in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, through Erdman’s perspective."
Solomon hopes the book will not only raise awareness but inspire students to become involved. "This book particularly addresses Winthrop’s goal of bringing ‘the world to Winthrop and Winthrop to the world.’ After reading this book, our students should be motivated to take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities offered by the International Center," Solomon said.
The Common Book Project is designed to integrate Winthrop students into the university environment and acquaint them with Winthrop’s strongly held intellectual and academic values. Students receive information about the book at orientation and read the book over the summer. Themes and ideas from the common book are incorporated into art work, programs, presentations and other campus events throughout the semester. Area book clubs and others in the community are encouraged to read the book and join in the discussion.