Author Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen will visit the Phillips Exeter Academy campus on Tuesday January 22nd and Wednesday January 23rd.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer (2015) won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, while Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and Memory of War (2016), was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. Nguyen is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (2002). His most recent work of fiction The Refugees (2017), a short story collection, was named a 2017 New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Best Book of the Year by NPR. Nguyen is also the editor of Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (2018).

In addition to speaking during the Tuesday morning Assembly, the Academy will host “An Evening with Viet Thanh Nguyen” as part of the Department of English Haley Lecture and the Exeter We the People Lecture Series. The Tuesday evening event will begin at 7pm in Phillip Exeter Academy’s Assembly Hall and is free and open to the public.

On Wednesday January 23rd the Library will host a special Q&A with Nguyen for students in the Library Commons. This student event is organized by Wei-Ling Woo, Asian Student Program Coordinator.

A display of some of Nguyen’s works can be found in the Library’s Rockfeller Hall.

We The Future Poster Exhibit

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, the Library will exhibit We the Future, a poster campaign that “features [ten] young leaders from social change movements.” Created by Amplifier in partnership with artists Shepard Fairey, Rommy Torrico, Munk One, and Kate DeCiccio, “this project will place art and supporting teaching tools representing these young leaders and their movements into more than 20,000 schools across the country, to inspire and engage the next generation” (Amplifier).

The ten activists, ranging in ages from 13-29, “are working to encourage people to vote, address climate change, rethink the immigration system, create opportunity in our education system, and address gun violence…”  As part of the poster campaign and supporting curriculum, each featured activist selected a non-profit organization to highlight their cause.

If you are unable to see the posters in person, or would like to know more about those featured and their non-profit partner, we have provided more information below.

We The Future, activists and organizations:

  1. Lindsay Amer, queer activist, Queer Kid Stuff
  2. Lydia X.Z. Brown, disability justice advocate, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  3. Isra Chaker, immigration justice advocate, Oxfam
  4. Amanda Gorman, youth literacy activist, 826 National
  5. Paul S. John, gun violence prevention advocate, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
  6. “Leah the Activist,” immigrant rights activist, Families Belong Together
  7. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, environmental justice advocate, Earth Guardians
  8. Winter BreeAnne Minisee, youth voter mobilizer, Women’s March Youth EMPOWER
  9. Ismael Nazario, criminal justice reform advocate, Performing Statistics
  10. Amanda Nguyen, civil rights activist, RISE

The We the Future posters and other artwork from Amplifier are available to download and view here.

The Observer article, Political Posters by Shepard Fairey and Others are Coming to 20,000 US Classrooms provides more information about the poster campaign and Amplifier’s work.

The Class of 1945 Library Has a New Catalog!

This past fall, the library staff began implementing a new library system called Worldshare Management Services (WMS.) WMS is a cloud-based cooperative library management system developed by OCLC, Inc., which is itself a cooperative of libraries worldwide. We went live with WMS over Thanksgiving break and we’re now busy working out the kinks.

While the library staff are adjusting to new circulation, acquisition and metadata systems, the Academy community will notice changes to the library catalog and to their library accounts. You can experience these changes at the Library’s website (

Our catalog can now search books, articles, videos, and more with just one search. There are options to cite, copy a direct link, email or save to a list each item within the search results. As with our old system, you can view and renew the library items you have checked out by clicking on “My Library Account” under “About” on the Library’s webpage. Just use your PEA login.

To learn more about our new discovery system you can try watching a WMS how-to video or, if you would like a one-on-one session with a librarian, just visit the Library’s help desk, text us at 603-707-4054, call 603-777-3313 or email us at !

Building Bridges Exhibit

Beginning November 1st, The Class of 1945 Library will host a traveling exhibition Building Bridges: Portraits of Immigrants and Refugees, a photo-text display created by the award-winning Family Diversity Projects of Amherst, Massachusetts. The exhibit created by Mark Chester, Gigi Kaeser, and Peggy Gillespie features photographs and interviews with people who have come to the United States as immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from all over the world. The exhibit seeks to challenge damaging myths and stereotypes about immigrants and refugees as a way to prevent bullying and hatred towards this marginalized group of people.

The exhibit will be on display November 1 – December 14th on the ground floor of the Library Commons.

Books for Upcoming Assemblies

The next three assemblies bring to campus Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist Dr. John Mather, explorer/cinematographer Steve Elkins, and Peter Singer, one of the world’s foremost moral philosophers.

To learn about Mather, Elkins, and Singer, check out these books available at the Library.

Dr. John Mather, Senior Astrophysicist at NASA
Assembly Speaker, October 5th

The Very First Light: the True Inside Story of the Scientific Journey Back to the Dawn of the Universe by John C. Mather & John Boslough
Published ten years before Dr. John Mather won the Nobel Prize in Physics, this book provides a detailed account of “the discovery of the cosmic background radiation and of the subsequent fifteen-year struggle to design, building and launch the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite.”

Steve Elkin,  explorer and cinematographer
Assembly Speaker, October 9th

The Lost City of the Monkey God : a True Story by Douglas Preston
Steve Elkin and his partner, documentary filmmaker Ben Benenson, led an expedition to find “the lost city of the monkey god” in the Honduras jungle.  This NYT Bestseller written by Douglas Preston is a riveting eyewitness account of their discovery of the lost city. A film of the same title will be released this year.


Peter Singer,  professor of bioethics
Assembly Speaker, October 12th

The Library has twenty-two titles written by philosopher Peter Singer.  Some notable works include:


This week the Library joins the rest of the book community in supporting the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.” (American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom)

Each year the American Library Association keeps track of books challenged throughout the country in public and school libraries. Visit the Library this week to see our exhibit of the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2017 or view the list below.

Lamont Poet Julia Alvarez

22enthusiastalvarez-articleLargePhillips Exeter Academy  opens its 2018–2019 Lamont Poetry Series on Wednesday October 10th with a reading by award-winning poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez.

Alvarez is the author of four collections of poetry The Other Side / El Otro Lado (1995), Homecoming (1996), Seven Trees (1998), and The Woman I Kept to Myself (2004); several books including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (winner of the 1991 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award ), In the Time of the Butterflies (1994), Yo! (American Library Association notable book), and Once Upon a Quinceañera (2007); plus numerous essays.

Her work has earned her frequent awards, including the 2009 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in American Literature as well as the Hispanic Heritage Award in 2002.  Alvarez has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Award and her work has often been a selection for the One Book/One City national program. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Her work was featured in the 1996 New York Public Library exhibit, “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, From John Donne to Julia Alvarez. In 1974 she received the Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, first prize in narrative from the Third Woman Press Award in 1986, and an award from the General Electric Foundation in 1986.

Alvarez received her Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from Middlebury College and also attended Syracuse University, from which she received her M.F.A. She has taught at Phillips Andover Academy, the University of Illinois, George Washington University, the University of Vermont, and Middlebury College. In addition, Alvarez has served as Poet-in-the-Schools in Kentucky, Delaware and North Carolina. She is currently a writer in residence at Middlebury College.

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