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Washtenaw Reads Author Event | Michelle Kuo


Wednesday January 16, 2019: 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Rackham Auditorium (915 E Washington St)

For Whom

Grade 9 - Adult


Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening. In her time spent Reading with Patrick, Michelle is herself transformed, contending with the legacy of racism and the questions of what constitutes a “good” life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects. This event features a Q & A and a book signing. Books will be for sale.

MICHELLE KUO taught English at an alternative school in the Arkansas Delta for two years. After teaching, she attended Harvard Law School as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and worked at a nonprofit for undocumented immigrants in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California on a Skadden Fellowship, with a focus on tenants' and workers' rights. She also clerked for a federal appeals court judge in the Ninth Circuit.

This event is part of the 2019 Washtenaw Read. The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti. For more information about Washtenaw Reads and previous years' reads, go to

Washtenaw Reads



Listening to the audiobook now, and it is an important story for literacy and immigration and criminal justice, in one.

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