Our marathon readings bring together members of the UCLA community and the general public to celebrate a shared passion for literature by taking a day to read an important work of literature aloud from start to finish. Last year, for the first time in over a decade, the UCLA Department of English reinstated our annual marathon reading with a day-long reading of Beloved by Toni Morrison. This year, on May 8, we are keeping the tradition alive with an exciting double-header: Charlotte Brontë’s gothic classic, Jane Eyre, and Jean Rhys’s modern reimagining of Brontë’s novel, Wide Sargasso Sea. In the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements that have started a new conversation around professional and social expectations for the treatment of women in Hollywood and beyond, we are proud to bring Brontë and Rhys’s classic feminist texts to the public ear. We believe that these historic novels offer fresh and valuable insight for the current cultural moment.
While the Marathon Reading itself is funded through donated goods and services, we are, like many endurance events, also a fundraiser. In the past, we have raised money to fund graduate student conference travel. This year, we are excited to announce a new fundraising initiative: the Marathon Reading Summer Research Fellowship. Your donation will support current scholars and encourage the next generation: four fellowships will fund two English PhD students and two undergraduate English majors at UCLA. Each of the four $2000 fellowships that you will help create will allow these scholars dedicate a month to research, research travel, and writing while not having to worry about the high cost of living in Los Angeles.
Your gift will also be supporting mentoring and collaboration: fellowship recipients will share work with each other, and participate in specially designed professionalization and research workshops led by faculty mentors.
In addition to teaching us how to think critically about important issues, humanities scholars are engaged in asking new, different questions about how we experience the world - and how we narrate and interpret these experiences. By supporting the humanities, you are supporting scholars working on enlarging our fields of vision by asking thoughtful, critical questions about other beings, cultures, and our place in the world. The sustained, in-depth research skills we learn and practice in the humanities also counterbalance our 24-hour media diet of hot takes and breaking news.
The Marathon Reading, first established in 1996, is an annual event organized by UCLA's Department of English that aims to build our community of readers, garner support for the department, and raise awareness about diverse works of literature. Free and open to the public, the event brings the campus and wider Los Angeles community together by taking a day to read a landmark work of fiction aloud from start to finish. In past years, the event has attracted thousands of participants, including special guest readers like Rosa Parks, Sean Astin, Mayim Bialik, and John Lithgow. Selected literature in previous marathon readings have included Moby Dick, Bleak House, The Invisible Man, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and Gravity’s Rainbow. Readings have run from 20 to 34 hours.
To find out more, please check out our website and follow us on social media:
A copy of Jane Eyre or Wide Sargasso Sea is coming your way - please let us know which one you'd prefer! We'll also thank you on our website and in our marathon reading program *and* send you an official 2018 marathon reading tote bag.
(A tax deductible donation of $235)
Program and website thanks, a tote bag, and copies of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea are coming your way. Plus we'll save a seat for you in a reserved section, and give you a special shout out at the Marathon itself!
(A tax deductible donation of $475)
Reader, we'll marry YOU! Or, to be more specific, we'll send you all of the above perks AND host a special marathon reading event in your honor - it could be a book club, a reading, or a visit to UCLA's special collections. Let us know what appeals and we'll work with you to make it happen.
(A tax deductible donation of $975)