Common Book

‌Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A partnership of the Dean of the College and the Student Life Office

As co-chairs for the Common Book Committee, we are writing to share the news with you about the book selection for the 2017-2018 academic year. For a second year, the book we will read together is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. A MacArthur Genius Grant fellow and national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates has received the National Book Award for Nonfiction for Between the World and Me. We will read it as a point of entry into the liberal arts experience and consider how this rich, complicated, and multifaceted text–written as a letter from father to son–invites us all to wrestle with “big questions” of contemporary social significance, including race, authority, and the transmission of wisdom.

The content of this book will be incorporated into Orientation as well as other campus-wide events. There will be several other opportunities to join in dialogues or reading groups for this book. In addition to the events on campus, new students must complete a response to Between the World and Me on your Applicant Status Page using the Summer Reading Assignment checklist item by July 31. Your submissions will be shared with your academic advisor.

The book is in stock at the University Supply Store and available at online booksellers. You can also try your local library. If you have difficulty obtaining the book, please contact Dean Spurlock directly at

We are counting down the days until your arrival to campus!


Yea, Sewanee's right!

Becky Spurlock, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean
Office of the Dean of Students
Elizabeth Skomp, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
Office of the Dean of the College