The One Community, One Book program, also known as OCOB, is an annual community-wide reading project coordinated by the UICHR. The project invites campus and community members to read the same human rights-related text and participate in activities such as book clubs, discussions, film screenings, and author visits.
We are now collecting nominations for the 2021 selection of One Community, One Book. Learn more here.
For the OCOB 2020 book, we chose A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, an Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate. This is a moving story that touches on many important topics of our time including identity, belonging, race and ethnicity, religion, addiction, and mental health. Through vivid character portrayals and multiple first person narratives, readers experience the complexity of relationships with the ever present tension between intentions and impact, longing and gratification.
In place of visiting campus in person, Ms. Mirza spoke at a public online event at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, Oct. 7 as part of the Book Festival of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. View the recording below.
History of OCOB
Launched in 2001 by UICHR founders Dorothy Paul and Burns Weston, One Community, One Book was uniquely envisioned as a collaborative effort between the campus and community to promote human rights education through the reading of literature. Groups from around the City and County, such as public libraries, high schools, the Oakdale correctional facility, and the Iowa City Senior Center have collaborated to host local events such as discussion forums, book groups, film screenings, and author visits.
Highlights of the program over the years include a visit by author Khaled Hosseini whose debut novel set in Afghanistan, The Kite Runner, was chosen in 2004 well before it became an international bestseller. In 2008, through a partnership with the Provost's Office and the Lecture Committee, copies of the book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, were given to each incoming first-year student and the author spoke to approximately 1500 people at First Methodist church in Iowa City. In the past five years, UICHR has partnered with the City of Literature, Geneva Campus Ministry, and other campus and community groups to fully integrate the program into the life of the community. In 2015, more than 1100 people attended the keynote lecture delivered by author Bryan Stevenson, who spoke about his best-selling book Just Mercy.
Selection process & timeline
Nominations We'd love to hear your ideas for the 2021 One Community, One Book selection. Complete this short nomination form to tell us your recommendation; you are welcome to comp…
Past OCOB Selections
Past One Community, One Book Selections
The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham
Reading With Patrick: A …