Alex Myer ’96 Reads The Continental Divide

Please join us on Wednesday December 18th for a reading and discussion of The Continental Divide, the latest novel by English Instructor Alex Myers ’96.

The reading will take place at 7 pm in the Library Commons, on the ground floor of The Class of 1945 Library.  The event is free and open to the public.

About The Continental Divide

Go West, Young Man. Isn’t that the advice every east coast boy has considered at least once in his life?

At nineteen, almost twenty, Ron Bancroft thinks those words sound pretty good. Newly out as transgender, Ron finds himself adrift: kicked out by his family, jilted by his girlfriend, unable to afford to return to college in the fall. So he heads out to Wyoming for a new start, a chance to prove that—even though he was raised as a girl, even though everyone in Boston thinks of him as transgender—he can live as a man. A real man.

In Wyoming, he finds what he was looking for: rugged terrain, wranglers, a clean slate. He also stumbles into a world more dangerous than he imagined, one of bigotry and violence. And he falls for an intriguing young woman, who seems as interested in him as he is in her. Thus begins Ron’s true adventure, a search not for the right place in America, but the right place within himself to find truth, happiness, and a sense of belonging. (– from the publisher)

About the Author

Author of Revolutionary, Alex Myers ’96 was born and raised in western Maine. Since high school, Alex has campaigned for transgender rights. As a female-to-male transgender person, Alex began his transition at Phillips Exeter Academy (returning his senior year as a man after attending for three years as a woman) and was the first transgender student in that academy’s history. Alex was also the first openly transgender student at Harvard, and worked to change the university’s nondiscrimination clause to include gender identity. After earning a master’s in religion from Brown University, Alex began a career as a high school English teacher. Along the way, he earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He currently lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two cats.

Native American Heritage Month

In honor of Native American Heritage Month this November, the Library has put together a pop-up display in Rockefeller Hall highlighting fiction and non-fiction works by Native American authors.  Below is a sampling of some of the more recent publications that are part of this display.


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This brief list includes The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award; Mailhot’s best-selling memoir Heart Berries; two works on indigenous resistance by activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker and historian Nick Estes; and a new collection of essays by contemporary Native authors.


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This small sampling of fiction and poetry by Native American authors includes Tommy Orange’s award winning bestseller There There (Note: An audiobook version of this high-demand print title is available in Overdrive); Where the Dead Sit Talking, a National Book Award finalist; the most recent work by acclaimed author Louise Erdrich (Note: Her next work The Night Watchman is set to be published in Spring 2020); a new work of historical fiction by Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble; and a collection of poems by current Native poets.

To find books in the Library by Native American authors or on topics related to Native American studies, try the following searches in the Library Catalog.


Fall 2019 Lamont Poet Arthur Sze

Phillips Exeter Academy  opens its 2019-2020 Lamont Poetry Series on Wednesday, November 6th with a reading by award-winning poet and translator Arthur Sze.

Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including Compass Rose (2014); The Ginkgo Light (2009); Quipu (2005); and The Redshifting Web (1998). He is also the translator of The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese and editor of Chinese Writers on Writing.

Sze has received numerous awards and honors, including an American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Western States Book Award for Translation, grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, and fellowships from the Howard Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sze is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and was the first poet laureate of Sante Fe, New Mexico. Educated at the University of California-Berkeley, Sze has been the Visiting Hurst Professor at Washington University, the Doenges Visiting Artist at Mary Baldwin College, and spent residencies at universities such as Brown, Bard College, and the Naropa Institute.

The reading will be held at 7:30pm in the Assembly Hall, located on the second floor of the Academy Building on Front Street. The event is free and open to the public.

New Ebook Collection Honors Memory of Instructor Polly N. MacMullen ’76

Philip H. Loughlin III ’57, ’76 (Hon.) recently established a permanent library fund in memory of Polly MacMullen, a 1976 Phillips Exeter Academy graduate and Instructor in Modern Languages.  By endowing the Priscilla (Polly) MacMullen, Class of 1976, Library Fund, Loughlin hopes to honor Polly’s love of reading and learning in others.  According to Loughlin, Polly was “an avid reader of fiction” and “valued recreational/leisure reading for the pure enjoyment it brought, along with the added benefit of enriching her life stories.”

Loughlin’s gift supports the Academy Library’s new digital reading platform OverDrive. With OverDrive, members of the Phillips Exeter Academy community have access to fiction and nonfiction titles ranging from the classics to the latest bestsellers.  Polly “delighted in reading and re-reading the classics” and “depended on audiobooks to get her through long drives,” making this leisure reading collection of ebooks and audiobooks a fitting tribute.

The initial OverDrive collection contains over 180 titles that can be accessed by members of the Phillips Exeter Academy community using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.  By downloading OverDrive’s companion app, Sora, users can browse the collection, and “borrow” a title to read or listen to on their own device. Users may suggest future titles to be added to OverDrive through the Library Acquisitions Request form.

To get started with Sora, please see this brief guide (pdf).

This article first appeared in Class of 1945 Library fall newsletter.

LGBTQ History Month

October is LGBTQ History month, an observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender history and gay rights. October also includes National Coming Out Day (October 11), the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death (October 12), anniversary of the first LGBT March on Washington (October 14), and Spirit Day (October 17).

In celebration of LGBTQ History month, the Library is highlighting a few titles in our collection related to LGBTQ history and gay rights.

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and calls attention to the attempts made to remove or restrict books in libraries, schools, and universities. In 2018 the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) reported 483 books that were challenged or banned in the United States. Listed below are this year’s Top 11 Most Challenged Books* along with links to the stories of the censorship they faced.

#1. George by Alex Gino

#2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss

#3. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

#4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

#5. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

#6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

#7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

#8. Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner

#9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

#10. and #11. This Day in June and Two Boys Kissing

“Traditionally the ALA releases a Top Ten List within the State of America’s Libraries Report each April. This year 11 books were selected, since two titles were tied for the final position on the list, and both books were burned by a religious activist to protest a Pride event” (American Library Association).