Videos from the 2017 First-Year Experience® Conference Are Now Available

By Kimberly Bayley | March 7 2017 | College & University Reads


If you were one of the many in attendance at the First-Year Experience® conference in Atlanta this past  February, you might have joined us at one of our events showcasing authors and books ideal for common reading. If you or your colleagues didn’t make it, or if you would like to watch the talks again, we now invite you to check out the video clips below.


Penguin/Knopf Author Dinner

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The annual Penguin/Knopf dinner featured Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad) and Garrard Conley (Boy Erased).

Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad



Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased



Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dion Graham, narrator of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Rebecca Campbell, Professor of Educational Psychology, Northern Arizona University

Cheryl Herman, Marketing Director, Penguin Random House Audio

Almost 50% of a college student’s day is spent in some form of listening, but little instruction on effective listening is taught in college. This session focused on both learning how to listen and how to use listening as an important strategy for learning. It also explored the rising popularity of audiobooks and podcasts amongst college students and a variety of ways to incorporate audio in and out of the classroom.



Penguin Author Luncheon

Sunday, February 12

Ken Ilgunas, author of Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland



Yeonmi Park, author of In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom



Tom Rinaldi, author of The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.



Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers: A Novel




Cocktails & Conversations

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin, authors of Rest In Power, joined Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers, to discuss social justice, black lives matter, and the life of Trayvon Martin.

Link: To Come


FYE 2017 Author Luncheon

Monday, February 13, 2017

The annual Random House Author Luncheon included Matthew Desmond (Evicted), Shaka Senghor (Writing my Wrongs), Dave Isay (Callings), and Wayne & Nicole Maines (Becoming Nicole).

Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted



Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs



Dave Isay, author of Callings



Wayne & Nicole Maines, featured in Becoming Nicole







Boy Erased
A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
As a nineteen-year old college student, Garrard Conley, the son of a Baptist pastor, was outed to his parents and forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to "cure" him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Conley found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.

Poverty and Profit in the American City
Selected for common reading at:

Writing My Wrongs
Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison
Now in paperback, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling story of a man who went from being a convicted murderer to becoming a lecturer at the University of Michigan, a mentor and motivational speaker at conferences like TED and Aspen Ideas, a leading voice for criminal justice reform, and an inspiration to thousands.

The Purpose and Passion of Work
StoryCorps founder Dave Isay presents unforgettable stories from people doing what they love. Some found their paths at very young ages, others later in life; some overcame great odds or upturned their lives in order to pursue what matters to them. Callings is an inspiring tribute to rewarding work and the American pursuit of happiness.

Becoming Nicole
The inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines and her extraordinary family
The inspiring true story of transgender actor and activist Nicole Maines, whose identical twin brother, Jonas, and ordinary American family join her on an extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.

The Mothers
A Novel
Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. "Told with the wisdom of a seasoned, compassionate storyteller, The Mothers is a novel about community, friendship, grief and growth. The two women at the center of this novel are characters you will find yourself thinking about long after you've turned the last page—they pull you in close and never let you go. Bennett is a brilliant and much-needed new voice in literature."—Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House.
Large Print

Trespassing Across America
One Man's Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland
Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man's remarkable journey along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves—both physically and mentally. It is filled with colorful characters, harrowing physical trials, and strange encounters with the weather, terrain, and animals of America's plains. Ultimately, Trespassing Across America is a call to embrace the belief that a life lived not half wild is a life only half lived.

In Order to Live
A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom
Yeonmi Park, the daughter of civil servants in North Korea, led a relatively privileged life until her father, a party member, was arrested for smuggling. After that, life became a ceaseless battle against starvation. When she finally escaped with her mother, she didn't even know what it meant to be free. All she knew was that she was running for her life, that if she and her family stayed behind they would die—from starvation, or disease, or even execution. Park's memoir is about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love to overcome the most ghastly horrors and the most hopeless circumstances.

The Red Bandanna
A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.
Tom Rinaldi tells the story of of real-life hero Wells Crowther, a young man who worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and sacrificed his own life to save countless others, continuing to go up and down nearly twenty flights of stairs to lead strangers to safety. The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.