Old fashioned penmanship lesson


Work of Literary Merit

Since the early 1980s, many SRJC English instructors have selected a common text, a work of literary merit (WOLM), for study in English 1A classes. The number of students who study the WOLM is actually much higher, however, because many instructors assign the selected WOLM in other classes, especially English 1B. In the early years, the program consisted of little more than this agreement on a common text, with instructors benefiting by sharing ideas about teaching the particular work. As the years passed, however, the program developed into an exciting and integral part of the 1A curriculum. A constellation of optional adjunct activities also began to revolve around the WOLM, such as the lecture program, library displays, bookmarks, public readings, and special classes for ESL students. In short, the WOLM has become an event. Note: there is no selected WOLM for summer semesters.

With special thanks to the Robert C. Kelley Literary Works Endowment.

WOLM (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024) is funded by a grant from the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation-Randolph Newman Cultural Enrichment Endowment.

SRJC Foundation Logo

Fall 2023 / Spring 2024 WOLM

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline



Scheduled Events

How to Survive an Apocalypse: A California Native Story

Thursday, September 28th 5:30-6:30 - 4th Floor Reading Room, Doyle Library

Trelasa Baratta, MA.Ed. (she/her/hers)

Enrolled Tribal Member of Middletown Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Education Specialist, Redbud Resource Group

Join us for a reflective discourse centered on themes of survival, assimilation, family, and hope. Trelasa, a Native educator and member of the Lake Miwok/Pomo community, will discuss her own personal connections to "The Marrow Thieves" and offer insight into the importance of Native-authored literature for the future of Indigenous people. 


Healing Circles: People Coming Together

Monday, September 11th 11-12:30pm & Monday, October 2nd 11-12:30pm - SAC/ Bertolini 4608

Brijida “Brijit” Alemán, Psychotherapist

Bilingual, Native American & Latina Clinician

Join us in story, sharing your wisdom, listening, and being with one another in process. This Healing Circle is an opportunity to gather, reflect, share authentic personal stories, have them respectfully heard and acknowledged without judgment, condemnation, nor advice.


Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday, October 9th 11am-3pm - Burbank Outdoor Stage Area

Join us at Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration to celebrate Indigenous culture, food, art, and more. We will be tabling, and excited to talk to you about the Work of Literary Merit.


Your Dystopia, My Reality: The Power of Perspective in Imagined Futures

Wednesday, October 25th 1-3pm - Santa Rosa Intercultural Center

Eric Atkinson, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

African American Literature Specialist, English Department, Santa Rosa Junior College

Typically, plot and theme of dystopia expresses and highlights cultural anxieties and is often grounded in “reality” without elements of fantasy or speculation or “what ifs” in order to comment, sometimes indirectly, about society and its fears. But for BIPOC, system oppression and manipulation is already part of the experience. Instead this genre is an opportunity to use story as medicine as they mean to revivify a state of being, to repair a culture, give a sense of place, soothe one’s mental state, and/or give a strength that allows one to persevere and survive.


All Our Relations Reading Group

Thursday, October 19th - 10-11:30am - Zoom link - Meeting ID: 811 8810 1552 

Reading Selection: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline


Thursday, October 26th - 4-5:30pm - Santa Rosa Intercultural Center

Reading Selection: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline


Tuesday, November 7th - 12-1:30pm - Zoom link - Meeting ID: 863 2136 1063

Reading Selection: Scholarship on The Marrow Thieves by PhD Candidate Melissa Horner (Métis/Anishinaabe), Dr. Joaquin Muñoz (Pascua Yaqui), and Dr. Robert Petrone


Thursday, November 30th - 4-5:30pm -  Santa Rosa Intercultural Center

Reading Selection: Deer Woman: An Anthology edited by Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre


Mary Churchill, Ph.D. (she/her/they/them)

Humanities & Religious Studies, Santa Rosa Junior College

Erica Tom, Ph.D. (she/her/they/them)

Ethnic Literature Specialist, English Department, Santa Rosa Junior College

Dr. Churchill and Dr. Tom facilitate the All Our Relations Reading Group to provide opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the public to read texts and join in conversations about issues in Native American Studies, Indigenous Studies, Environmental Studies, and all areas that allow us to explore our connectedness with all our relations. This semester, we are excited to feature the young adult novel The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Métis), scholarship on The Marrow Thieves by PhD Candidate Melissa Horner (Métis/Anishinaabe), Dr. Joaquin Muñoz (Pascua Yaqui), and Dr. Robert Petrone, and Deer Woman: Anthology, edited by Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre.


Considering Anti-Colonial Futures with Indigenous Education and Youth in the Marrow Thieves

Wednesday, November 1st 12-1pm - Newman Auditorium & Zoom link - Meeting ID: 854 5784 8610

Melissa Horner (Métis/Anishinaabe)

PhD Candidate, Sociology, University of Missouri

Joaquin Muñoz (Pascua Yaqui)

Assistant Professor, Indigenous Education, University of British Columbia

Robert Petrone

Associate Professor, Critical Youth Studies & Literacy Education, University of Missouri

In this talk, three collaborators will explore the confluence of Indigenous culture and education, while critiquing settler colonialism and uplifting Indigenous young adult literature. 


Cultural Fire: Restoring Relations

Wednesday, November 15th 11:30am-12:30pm - Santa Rosa Intercultural Center

Chairman Ron W. Goode

The Honorable Ron W. Goode, Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe, teaches and speaks internationally on cultural burning. Joined by Dr. Erica Tom and students, this event will explore the power of restoring our relationship to the land, plants, animals, ourselves, and each other.


Work of Literary Merit Archive

Man's Search for Meaning, Victor E. Frankl (1946), Fall 2022, Spring 2023

Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, Jose Antonio Vargas, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

Walden, Henry David Thoreau, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

Kindred, Octavia Butler, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

1984, George Orwell, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehesi Coates, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Spring 2016

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin, Fall 2015

Collected Essays, James Baldwin, Spring 2015

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean, Fall 2014

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, Spring 2014

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fall 2013

Passing, Nella Larsen, Spring 2013

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Fall 2012

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Spring 2012

Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie, Fall 2011

Into the Forest, Jean Hegland, Spring 2010/2011

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, Fall 2009/2010

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,  Mark Twain, Spring 2008/2009

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Fall 2007/Spring 2008

Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko, Fall 2006/Spring 2007

Ibsen's Selected Plays, Henrik Ibsen, Spring 2006

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fall 2005

Middle Passage, Charles Johnson, Spring 2005

The Portable Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman, Fall 2004

Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin, Spring 2004

Howards End, E. M. Forster, Fall 2003

Tracks, Louise Erdrich, Spring 2003

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Fall 2002

The Awakening, Kate Chopin, Spring 2002

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James, Fall 2001

The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien, Spring 2001

Gimpel the Fool, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Fall 2000

Where I'm Calling From, Raymond Carver, Spring 2000

Hard Times, Charles Dickens, Fall 1999

Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson, Spring 1999

Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard, Fall 1998

The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston, Spring 1998

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Fall 1997

As You Like It, William Shakespeare, Spring 1997

My Antonia, Willa Cather, Fall 1996

Grand Avenue, Greg Sarris, Spring 1996

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, Fall 1995

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Spring 1995

Beloved, Toni Morrison, Fall 1994

Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko, Spring 1994

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, Fall 1993

The Portable Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Spring 1993

Waiting for the Barbarians, J. M. Coetzee, Fall 1992

Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Spring 1992

Dubliners, James Joyce, Fall 1991

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison, Spring 1991

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse, Fall 1990

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Spring 1990

The Great Gatsby, Fall 1989

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, Spring 1989

The Milagro Beanfield War, John Nichols, Fall 1988

The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West, Spring 1988

The Tempest, William Shakespeare, Fall 1987

A Passage to India, E. M. Forster, Spring 1987

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, Fall 1986

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Spring 1986

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, Fall 1985

A Gathering of Old Men, Ernest J. Gaines Spring 1985

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Fall 1984

1984, George Orwell, Spring 1984

The Horse's Mouth, Joyce Cary, Fall 1983

Henderson The Rain King, Saul Bellow, Spring 1983

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, Fall 1982

The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy, Spring 1982

Candide, Voltaire, Fall 1981