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To Live -a novel by Yu Hua, translated by Michael Berry

A guide to CWU's 2019 Big Read

CWU & Ellensburg Big Read events and programs

A limited supply of free copies of the book were given away at each Big Read event.

Community Kickoff 

Thursday, Jan. 31, 3-6pm. Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby St., Ellensburg, WA.  In conjunction with Ellensburg Public Library. Event will introduce the Big Read, featuring performances, music, Chinese crafts and activities, and refreshments.

Campus kickoff

Friday, Feb 8, 2019, 5:30-8:30pm, SURC Ballroom:   Central Washington University's Chinese New Year celebration. Celebrate the Lunar New Year with CWU's Chinese Students and Scholars Association. [a ticketed event, but Big Read information table will be available outside the ballroom.]


Chinese Persecution in the Pacific Northwest -exhibit

Feb 1-28 -CWU Brooks Library, first floor hallway exhibit case;  in cooperation with CWU's Museum of Culture and Environment.

Exclusion and persecution based on race and ethnicity was present even in the Pacific Northwest particularly against the large Chinese population beginning in the early 1800s and continuing well into the 1900s. Central Washington and Ellensburg had a large population of Chinese who were business owners, land owners, and workers that were secluded and looked down upon and eventually driven out leaving behind a history that was largely erased from the narrative of the area.


China: a century of revolution, part 1: 1911-1949 -film screening (113 min.)

Tuesday, February 12, 6:30pm – Brooks Library, room 288



To Live -Brooks Library book discussion

Tuesday, February 19, 7-8:30pm: Brooks Library 4th floor Music Library.  Discussion led by Dr. Marilyn Levine, with her presentation on “Mass Campaigns and Mass Trauma: The Meaning of "To Live." 

This presentation will overview two of the mass campaigns, the Great Leap Forward (1958-1960) and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in the People's Republic of China. Using the themes in the novel "To Live," there will be a brief lecture, some film clips from the Chinese film "Hibiscus Town," which explored the suffering of the common person in China during these campaigns, and a discussion with the audience.


To Live -film screening (133 mins.)

Tuesday, February 26, 6:30pm – Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby Street

The film follows the life of one family in China, from the heady days of gambling dens in the 1940s to the austere hardship of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. And through all of their fierce struggles with fate, all of the political twists and turns they endure, their hope is basically one summed up by the heroine, a wife who loses wealth and position and children, and who says, "All I ask is a quiet life together." Directed by Zhang Yimou, starring Gong Li. 


Chinese Mythology and the night sky

Monday, March 4, 6:30-7:30 -CWU Lydig Planetarium, SCCN 101. CWU Physics/Astronomy faculty presentation on Chinese astronomy, myths, science, and stories about the stars at CWU planetarium.


China: a century of revolution, part 2: 1949-1976 -film screening (114 min.)

Tuesday, March 5, 6:30pm - Brooks Library, room 288


Peter Ludwin poetry workshop

Wednesday, March 6, 3:30-5:30pm - Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby St.

Limited enrollment.   Registration required.  For more information, and to register, contact Gerard Hogan at 509-963-1961 or

Peter Ludwin is a widely-published and award-winning poet, musician, and world traveler.  His third book, Gone to Gold Mountain, was nominated for a Washington State Book Award.  He has studied under noted poets Mark Doty, Tony Hoagland, and Robert Wrigley, among others.


Peter Ludwin poetry reading

Wednesday, March 6, 7:30pm - Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby St.

Peter Ludwin is the author of  Gone to Gold Mountain, poems giving voice to Chinese gold miners, massacred in 1887 by Eastern Oregon pioneers. Poetry reading, book sales, and book-signing.


China: a century of revolution, part 3: 1976-1997 -film screening

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30pm - Brooks Library, room 288


Keynote reading and talk by Michael Berry, translator of To Live

Sunday, March 31, 7:00pm - Brooks Library 2nd floor Student Commons

Followed by a reception and book signing.

[Originally scheduled for Sunday, February 10, this was postponed due to winter storms.] 


Chinese Cinema -class lecture by Michael Berry, translator of To Live

Monday, April 1, 9am - Lind Hall, room 104