INDIANAPOLIS — More than 30 Indiana communities, including Auburn will host events this year as part of a statewide read powered by Indiana Humanities.

The organization’s One State/One Story program is encouraging Hoosiers to read Jean Thompson’s “The Year We Left Home.” The book was selected to help explore themes related to Indiana Humanities’ INseparable initiative, which urges Hoosiers to examine real and perceived differences along urban, suburban and rural divides.

In the coming months, activities across the state will focus on Thompson’s novel, its exploration of the meaning of home and related Midwestern themes. Key components include a weekend retreat in Greencastle, Community Read programs in 28 cities and towns and Campus Read grants to fund programs at four universities.

Sites for local series of three or more programs about the book will include Eckhart Public Library of Auburn and Kendallville Public Library. Details about the dates and times of local events will be announced later by the local hosts and at Local events are being funded by Community Read grants.

The events will culminate in October with a “Back Home Again Tour” by Thompson, with stops in Batesville, Kokomo and North Manchester. The author will talk about her New York Times bestseller and her career as an award-winning author, as well as fielding questions from the audience.

“We are excited to bring Jean Thompson and her book to Hoosiers across the state and further our discussion about how we experience urban and rural settings,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities and a Hamilton native. “Exploring this shared text is a special way to gain a deeper understanding of each other and discuss what home means to us.”

Hoosier readers will be able to take a deep dive into Thompson’s book on March 27 and 28 at the Weekend Retreat at DePauw University’s Prindle Institute.

The retreat will begin Friday evening, March 27, with a keynote lecture, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner party inspired by the book. The next day will offer stimulating talks probing the literary and historical contexts of the novel, breakout book discussions, themed snacks and drinks.

Franklin College professor Jennifer Smith will kick off the retreat by discussing “What Was, Is, and Will Be Midwestern Literature.” Other talks and panels include “The Stories We Tell about Small Towns (And the Ones We Don’t),” “The Farm Crisis of the 1980s” and “The Future of Rural.”

Two ticket options for the retreat are available at A full ticket ($125) includes all activities and meals for both days. A Saturday-only ticket is $65. Lodging is available for an additional cost at the Inn at DePauw or the Holiday Inn Express in Cloverdale.

Throughout the year, events at schools, libraries and elsewhere will continue the exploration of Thompson’s novel, a National Book Award finalist that follows the Erickson family of small-town Iowa through the many changes affecting American life at the end of the 20th century. From city rooftops to country farms, college campuses to small-town main streets, the characters in Thompson’s novel search for the best places to build their futures.

Indiana Humanities strives to connect people, open minds and enrich lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. More information is online at

One State/One Story invites Hoosiers to engage deeply with a book as part of a statewide conversation tied to Indiana Humanities’ current theme, INseparable.

INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how people relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

More information is online at

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