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If All of Rochester Read the Same Book… 2003

2003—If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…

Writers & Books’ “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…” initiative connects people to the experience of literature and to others throughout our community, through reading and discussion.

Writers & Books selects one book of literary fiction to be read and discussed each year, leading up to a three-day residency in the community by the author. The choice for 2003, the third year of the program, is Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.

Octavia E. Butler, photo by Beth Gwinn
Octavia Butler

During Octavia Butler’s stay in Rochester, March 4–7, she will make a number of appearances and presentations, giving the entire community the chance to meet the author and continue the discussions already begun.

Planned activities for 2003 include panel discussions on subjects ranging from how individuals and communities deal with racial issues, how our lives are shaped by past events, and how important our heritage and genealogy are to us.

Libraries and bookstores throughout the area will hold public discussions of the book. Independent book groups are also encouraged to read and discuss the book. In addition, Writers & Books will host discussions after the author’s residency for those who wish to continue discussion after the event.In Kindred, a modern-day African American woman named Dana is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the pre-Civil War South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has traveled across the years to save him.

After this first summons, Dana is drawn back again and again to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father her ancestors. Yet each time Dana’s stays grow longer and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether her life will end long before it has even begun.

The book introduces many relevant questions for today’s readers.

  • How do people become mentally and physically enslaved?
  • What affect has slavery had on today’s world?
  • What is the nature of human relationships?

To learn more about Octavia E. Butler and Kindred, visit our Reader’s Guide.

Read Octavia E. Butler’s latest short story!

Amnesty (, 2003)
A woman abducted by aliens as a child attempts to bridge the huge gap between her former abductors and her fellow humans. Read it online.

In 2003, “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…” is made possible through the generous support of

Additional support provided by