Students engaged in classroom discussion.

Preface First-Year Reading and Writing Program

Preface is a first-year reading program that introduces students to the joy of academic inquiry. As such, it combines guided reading of a selected text with co-curricular events in which students discuss questions raised by the text with university, community and national experts. During this program, first-year students read the Preface text in English 101 and most University 101 courses and attend related events in both English 101 and 102.

While Preface is geared primarily toward first-year students, it offers a calendar of events that are relevant to a wide range of university courses as well as the community. Events are planned in close cooperation with various departments and offices of USC Upstate and most events are free and open to the public. This fall, first-year writing students will read The Weight of This World, a novel by David Joy.

The Weight of This WorldThe Weight of This World book cover

Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut Where All the Light Tends to Go was hailed as a "savagely moving novel that will probably become a great addition to the great body of Southern literature" (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountans of North Carolina with a powerful story about the weight of the past. 

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom cannot leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years, and she wants nothing more than to escape the unforgiving town that holds only bad memories. Between them is Aiden McCall, who is deeply loyal to both but unable to hold them together.

Connected by bonds of circumstance and duty, friendship and love, these three lives are blown apart when Aiden and Thad witness the accidental death of their drug dealer and a riot of dope and cash drops in their laps. In a meth-fueled journey to nowhere, they will either find the grit to overcome the darkness or be consumed by it.--from "About The Weight of This World," Penguin Random House 

Preface Goals

The intent of this series of programs is to help USC Upstate first-year students make connections to each other and to the university, to practice skills that contribute to success in college, and to discuss how a deeper understanding of a shared reading can inform the way we make personal decisions and influence public policy today.

*NOTE: Event dates are currently be updated and will be posted when they are completed.