Rochester Reads



Dear Reader,

Writers & Books is Rochester’s nationally renowned non-profit literary center located at 740 University Avenue, in the heart of Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts. In 2001, Writers & Books initiated the “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…” program. The goal of the program throughout these years has been to encourage people to connect to others in our community through reading and discussion, and through the shared experience of literature. Each year Writers & Books selects one book for our community to explore together, leading to a residency by the author.

Our choice for 2018, the eighteenth year of the program (called “Rochester Reads” since 2015), is The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande. In this memoir, the author shares the complex experiences of her early life, from her childhood in Mexico, through her illegal immigration to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life, to her success as a college student and author. It is both a timely tale of borders and immigration laws and a timeless story of love, loss, and loyalty.

We estimate that well over 175,000 Rochester-area readers have participated in our sixteen previous programs, which featured A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (2001), The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks (2002), Kindred by Octavia Butler (2003), Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (2004), Servants of the Map by Andrea Barrett (2005), Name All the Animals by Alison Smith (2006), The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian (2007), Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami (2008), Jim the Boy by Tony Earley (2009), Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2010), The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (2011), The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (2012), Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea (2013), The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (2014), The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2015), Queen of the Fall: A Memoir of Girls and Goddesses by Sonja Livingston (2016), and The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (2017).

During an extended residency in Rochester from March 28–30, author Reyna Grande will make a number of appearances at local libraries, schools, colleges, and universities in the Rochester area to read and discuss her work and sign books. For several weeks before her arrival, readers around the region will be joining discussions about The Distance Between Us and the issues it raises as well as attending video screenings, readings, panel presentations, lectures, and other special events. 

For a complete calendar of events, visit our virtual calendar here, email program coordinator Karen vanMeenen at, or call us at (585) 473-2590, x107. We invite you to join us.




Karen vanMeenen

Coordinator of Community Reading Programs, Writers & Books



Kyle Semmel

Executive Director, Writers & Books


Please use the side menu on the upper right-hand corner of this page to naviagte through our virtual readers guide.


Our past books have included:


All past Rochester Reads books are available for purchase in our bookstore at 740 University Ave.


Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Rochester Reads:

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