Winthrop University: Winthrop’s Common Book Selection is The Girl with Seven Names
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Winthrop’s Common Book Selection is The Girl with Seven Names

June 02, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • An international bestseller, the book portrays a 17-year-old girl’s harrowing journey escaping one of the most secretive regimes in the world during the height of North Korea’s famine in the 1990s.
  • The book also depicts a young, vulnerable immigrant teenager’s coming of age in a moving and complex account of her journey to discover who she is and what she most values and cherishes.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University’s new students will read “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story” by Hyeonseo Lee this summer and then discuss the book’s themes of identity, nationality and human rights throughout the year as the 2020-21 Winthrop University Common Book.

An international bestseller, the book portrays a 17-year-old girl’s harrowing journey escaping one of the most secretive regimes in the world during the height of North Korea’s famine in the 1990s. Lee’s riveting and inspiring account of her 10-year struggle to avoid capture and reunite with her family reveals much about the resilience of the human spirit. The book also depicts a young, vulnerable immigrant teenager’s coming of age in a moving and complex account of her journey to discover who she is and what she most values and cherishes.

A graduate from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Lee has become a regular speaker on the international stage, addressing the topic of human rights and raising awareness about the plight of North Koreans. She is an advocate for fellow refugees, and her TED talk has been viewed nearly 4 million times. She is married to her American husband Brian Gleason and currently lives in South Korea.

Incoming Winthrop freshmen and transfer students will receive the book during the summer. “Students will use the book in several settings: they will discuss it in ACAD 101: Introduction to the Academy; engage in programming and conversations about its themes in their residence halls; and delve into the overarching concepts and ideas in more depth when they take HMXP 102: The Human Experience course,” said Jamie Cooper, vice provost for student success and dean of University College.

First-year students are also encouraged to attend Common Book-related cultural events, which are open to Winthrop and the surrounding community, throughout the fall and spring semesters.

“Now more than ever it’s important that our students understand the interconnected nature of our global society, and the Common Book provides a shared experience where our new students can discuss themes related to what it means to be a global citizen in a free and democratic society,” Cooper said.

First begun in 2004, Winthrop’s Common Book Project is one of many programs designed to support student success during the transition to college life, and also supports the university’s goal of cultivating awareness and understanding of different perspectives.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 10/4/21