Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is One Book One Northwestern?

A:  The One Book One Northwestern project is a community wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President at Northwestern University (read President Schapiro's letter here). It is modeled after the successful Seattle Reads program developed by the Seattle Public Library in 1998. It aims to bring together individuals with different backgrounds to share and discuss a common topic.  One Book is coordinated by a different department every year.

Q:  What is this year's book?

A:  This year’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains is a nonfiction book by Tracy Kidder that tells the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated physician who has spent much of his life working in Haiti and other impoverished countries.  For more information, visit the 2010-11 program’s website at  This year's One Book is coordinated by the Center for Civic Engagement.

Q:  What type of events are part of One Book One Northwestern?

A:  A central theme of One Book One Northwestern is creating a common conversation across the campus. The program offers numerous student and faculty-initiated events (lectures, films, discussions, and exhibits) that provide an opportunity for individuals to gather and discuss the issues presented in the year’s book.

Q:  Who participates?

A:  Everyone! Many of the program's events are open to the public. You can find a copy of the book at most bookstores or online, and the President's Office provides a free copy of the book to all incoming Northwestern undergraduate students. Throughout the year there will be updates to the website.  You can also sign up for our mailing list to get updates about events and opportunities related to One Book.

Q:  Who organizes the One Book project?

A:  The 2010-2011 One Book One Northwestern project is hosted by the Center for Civic Engagement but the project involves the collaboration and expertise of faculty, staff, and students from across the university.  From first year undergraduates to emeritus faculty, the diverse Planning Committee is responsible for executing this year's project.

Q:  When are the books mailed out to incoming NU students?

A:  Incoming freshman and transfer students can expect to receive the book in early August.