Cuesta College’s popular Book of the Year program has added more events over the coming months. This year’s book selection is bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by author Piper Kerman, who is currently a justice reform advocate. In April, Kerman will be on the San Luis Obispo Campus to give a lecture; however, tickets for this event have sold out. Those still interested in participating can come to the event and wait in the stand-by line for unclaimed seats.

In addition to the following upcoming events, a forum, workshop and multiple book discussions at libraries throughout the county are scheduled. For a complete list of events, please visit

  • KCBX Radio Interviews

The second two interviews in a series of three on local FM radio station KCBX 90.1 discussing issues related to Kerman’s memoir. Podcasts of the interviews will be archived at

-          Wednesday, February, 26, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Marci Powers, a retired Ventura County probation officer now leading SLO County’s Anti-Gang Coordinating Commission, will talk about issues involving gang activity, incarceration and re-entry into the community.

-          Wednesday, March 26, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Brian Reynolds and local librarians Roz Pierini, Jackie Kinsey and Denise Fourie will share insights into the featured memoir Orange is the New Black and the importance of shared community reading experiences.

  • Panel Discussion: The Costs of the Prison System, A Community Response

Join SLO County Sherriff Ian Parkinson, SLO County Anti-Gang Commission Coordinator Marci Powers, Restorative Partners Director Sister Theresa Harpin and students affected by the justice system for a 90-minute discussion about the impact on SLO County residents and institutions in the wake of the 2011 law AB 109 that shifted control of certain prison inmates from the state to local authorities. The discussion will be held on Thursday, April 3, at 9:30 a.m. on the SLO Campus in building 5400, room 5401.

  • Film Screening: The House I Live In

Eugene Jarecki’s 2012 documentary about America’s war on drugs, featuring Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, offers a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war that has resulted in 45 million arrests and cost $1 trillion over the past 40 years. Despite these efforts, drugs are cheaper, purer and more available than ever. 108 minutes. Monday, March 31, 5:00 p.m., San Luis Obispo City-County Library, 995 Palm Street, SLO. (805) 781-5991.

  • Author Talk: Kathleen Cairns

Join Cal Poly lecturer and author Kathleen Cairns for a discussion of women in the prison system. Cairns is an expert on the subject and has written several books including Proof of Guilt: Barbara Graham and the Politics of Executing Women in America about the third woman to be executed in a California gas chamber, Hard Times at Tehachapi: California’s First Women’s Prison and The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison. There will be free screenings of an Academy Award-winning feature film about Barbara Graham to be held before Cairns’ talks.

-          Saturday, March 22, 2:00 p.m., Arroyo Grande Library, 800 W. Branch Street. (805) 473-7161

-          Thursday, March 27, 7:00 p.m., Paso Robles Library, 1000 Spring Street, Library Conference Room, (805) 237-3870

  • SOLD OUT: Kerman’s lecture will take place on Thursday, April 3, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Cuesta College’s Cultural and Performing Arts Center. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing, with copies of her book available for purchase. All seating is ticketed for this free event with a limit of four tickets per order. Parking will be free for the event in Lot 2. Unclaimed tickets will be released at 4:45 p.m.

The Book of the Year Program is a project of the Academic Senate of Cuesta College and is organized by the Cuesta College Book of the Year Committee.

For more information please call (805) 546-3190 or visit

Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / / Posted: 2/25/14