Skip navigation

2020 Common Reader

Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
by Terry Tempest Williams

As one of the most imaginative and thoughtful writers about the Western desert landscape and the need to protect it, Williams reminds us in this book that the preservation of wildness isn’t just about a specific region. It is about all of us. To preserve wildness is to preserve the spiritual essence of a nation and of individuals. In this lyrical tribute to the red desert country of Utah, Williams gracefully and forcefully steps into the debate over the use of public lands that divides even her own family. Red reminds us of the wisdom the desert offers all of us—after all, the desert tortoises “teach us the slow art of revolutionary patience”—and introduces readers to the power, vulnerability, and transformative possibilities offered by the desert landscape that so many people and unique species of life call home.

Regents' Common Reader Awards

Chapters can receive $100 for organizing and hosting a local event or activity around the 2020 Common Reader: Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert. Chapter members do not need to attend the convention to apply for a Regents’ Common Reader Award. After the event, chapters simply apply for the award money, following the guidelines posted at english.org. Award applications should be emailed on or before February 14, 2020, to the appropriate Regent.  View application guidelines.

Common Reader Convention Awards

Awards of up to $600 will be given at the international convention for critical essays or other genres of work that deal with the common reader. To be eligible, students indicate on the convention submission form that their work is in the common reader category (presentation type).