2016 Marathon Reading honors 'The Political Imagination'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Novels, poems and historical documents that celebrate “The Political Imagination” and capture fundamental values such as liberty, community and human rights in their text will be read aloud during the 2016 Marathon Reading, a 24-hour event beginning at noon on Thursday, Sept. 15, on the lawn in front of Paterno and Pattee Libraries.

The fifth annual Marathon Reading, sponsored by the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts and several of its departments and sponsors, is free and open to the public. Visitors are invited to bring appropriate equipment and camp out overnight on the lawn. Pizza and breakfast will be provided by the event sponsors.

Works to be read aloud during the Marathon Reading include the Declaration of Independence; the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen; the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Conference in 1848; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address; Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins; "The Hour of the Star" by Clarice Lispector; and selections penned by Walt Whitman.

“The marathon this year allows us to remember how the democratic system we live in was made,” said Eric Hayot, Penn State Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies and one of the co-organizers of the Marathon Reading. “It’s a lovely way of celebrating this year’s presidential election, and of honoring the contributions of all of those who have fought to extend the right to vote to all citizens.”

Select readers will take turns reading aloud for approximately five minutes each throughout the event. Penn State Distinguished Alumna Sue Paterno will be the first to read at noon on Thursday; other guest speakers will include State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, Penn State Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Russ Rose, and various University administrators.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and community residents may also sign up to read by emailing marathonread@psu.edu; however, it is not necessary to make a reservation in order to read. Organizers will have translations available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish for anyone versed in those languages and would like to read aloud.

In addition to the College of the Liberal Arts, sponsors include the School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; the Department of English; the Department of Comparative Literature; the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese; the Department of French and Francophone Studies; the Department of Asian Studies; the Department of German and Slavic Languages and Literatures; the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Center for Global Studies; the Center for Democratic Deliberation; the Center for American Literary Studies; and the Paterno Fellows Program.

Additional information about the event can be obtained by emailing marathonread@psu.edu.

Media Contacts: 

William Hessert

Work Phone: 
814-865-9988

College of the Liberal Arts

Last Updated September 09, 2016