Community Read

The Simmons Community/First Year Read is designed to engage the campus community, generate robust discussions, and foster the exchange of different ideas and perspectives. The program takes place during the fall semester. Incoming first-year undergraduates receive a digital copy of the book and discuss it during their first-year seminar course, Simmons Explore. The Community Read program typically includes a book club, thematic panels, classroom discussions, and an author keynote and Q&A. For more information, email [email protected].

Fall 2022 Community Read

Photo of Author Malinda Lo, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” Book Cover
Image: Photo of Author Malinda Lo, "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" Book Cover

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, families and friends are invited to participate in the Fall Community Read at Simmons! The Fall 2022 Community Read is Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo: a queer love story set in 1954 Chinatown, San Francisco, against the backdrop of rampant political suspicion that defined post-WWII America and the McCarthy era.

Join Malinda Lo on Wednesday, October 12 at 5:00 PM EST to get a glimpse into her fascinating research process and learn more about the inspiration behind Last Night at the Telegraph Club and her upcoming novel, Scatter of Light. In-person and virtual registration are available.


Bring a copy of your book for signing! A limited number of copies will also be available for purchase at the in-person event.

Please note that in-person seating is limited; advance registration is required. In the event that in-person registration fills up, livestream will be available on campus and attendees will be able to join the post-talk book signing.

The Fall 2022 Community Read is sponsored by the Provost's Office, Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the Simmons Library, Student Affairs, Advancement, and the President's Office. This event is funded by Eileen Friars '72 as part of the Friars in Residence Program.

About the Book

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father – despite his hard-won citizenship – Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

About the Author

Malinda Lo is the New York Times bestselling author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, winner of the National Book Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, as well as Michael L. Printz and Walter Dean Myers honors.

Her debut novel Ash, a Sapphic retelling of Cinderella, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda's short fiction and nonfiction has been published by The New York Times, NPR, Autostraddle, The Horn Book, and multiple anthologies.

She lives in Massachusetts with her wife and their dog. She writes the biweekly newsletter Lo & Behold on writing and culture, and she can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Her website is

Community Read Nominations

If you are interested in recommending a book for the Community Read, fill out the Community Read Book Nomination Form. Nominations should meet the following criteria:

  • May be fiction, nonfiction, or memoir
  • Has the potential to engage students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i from different disciplines and backgrounds
  • Explores themes and topics that may be relevant to first year undergraduates
  • Illuminates broad social, environmental, and/or cultural topics
  • Encourages reflection and discussion in a variety of courses and contexts
  • Invites readers to consider topics from diverse perspectives
  • Books written by women-identified or non-binary authors of color and/or otherwise underrepresented authors are strongly encouraged. We will not consider books with heavy partisan politics.

Submit a book nomination for the Fall 2023 Community Read! Nominations will be accepted until November 28, 2022.

Photo of Yaa Gyasi and screenshot of her book, Trancendent Kingdom

Campus & Community

Centered around the exploration of important themes and issues, the fall Community Read is designed to engage the campus community, generate robust discussions, and foster the exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives.