SUNY Oswego’s Oswego Reading Initiative will bring Claudia D. Hernández, the author of its 2021 selection “Knitting the Fog,” to campus for a live talk and Q&A starting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom.

Hernández's visit will wrap up the 2021 ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Student Leadership conference and connect with this year’s “Migration Stories of Courage” theme. Hernández’s award-winning book recounts her perilous journey from Guatemala to Los Angeles, and then struggling at first to fit into her new country.

The initiative, known as ORI for short, dates back around 20 years and provides incoming freshmen with a shared reading assignment before they arrive on campus, said Rameen Mohammadi, the associate provost who chairs the ORI committee.

“We want students to understand they are coming into an intellectual community with critical discourse,” Mohammadi said.

Mohammadi said that Hernández’s book is relevant and an important read because it tackles ongoing discussions about immigration and how America handles its borders through the story of a young woman immigrating, and the challenges and prejudice she faced.

“Knitting The Fog” has been received well, as a finalist for the 2020 Firecracker Award in Creative Nonfiction and with many rave reviews. Kerry Madden, author of the “Appalachian Maggie Valley Trilogy,” described it as “a breathtaking read. Her raw honesty sings on the page with a kind of fiery joy and longing of what it means to be a family.”

"Part-torch song and part excavation: a hybrid book of short nonfiction interlaced with poems that mirror the turbulent fog one must survive when they are a child who must keep going, despite it all,” wrote Melissa R. Sipin, editor in chief of Tayo Literary Magazine. “It is also a book of our times, a story of struggle and resilience, a warrior song that refuses to look or run away."

Hernández also is an award-winning editor for her anthology photography book “Women, Mujeres, IXOQ: Revolutionary Visions,” which received the International Latino Book Award in 2019. Additionally, she is the founder of the ongoing project Today’s Revolutionary Women of Color.

Her talk also coincides with Latino/a/x Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Mohammdi encourages people to come to the talk so they can hear Hernández’s inspiring story and ask the author the questions they may have after reading the book. Admission is free and the campus community and public are invited. The Office of the Provost and African Student Organization sponsor and host this talk.

-- Written by Braylon Noble of the Class of 2021