One of the perks of being a premier journalism program is the ability to put SOJC students in close conversation with the leaders in their fields, whether it be our own faculty or the professionals they bring to class.

There is perhaps no clearer illustration of that advantage for journalism students than PageTurners, the SOJC class that combines a close reading of an intriguing new book with the rare opportunity to work with its author.

Coordinated by SOJC Professor and James Wallace Chair in Journalism Peter Laufer, the two-credit class engages student in a close reading of a book specifically chosen for its use of multiple voices, diverse points of view and rich palette of cultural experiences. But the course takes that literary engagement one step further by including the book’s author in the conversation.

“It is an amazing opportunity for students to delve not only into the book itself but also the writing and publishing process in general,” Laufer explains.

In addition to three Friday meetings, the course includes a Saturday master class —taught by the author — followed by a public reading and an invitation-only dinner.

“The authors design their own master class, which offers an intimate insight into the writing experience for that writer. Not only does it help students understand how successful authors do what they do, but exposes them to concrete techniques for improving their own writing,” Laufer says. “And then the dinner adds to the experience by providing a vibrant social engagement. I love the class.”

All undergraduate major and pre-major students and all graduate students are invited to apply for the course. Students interested in the class or who have questions, please email Peter Laufer.

Fall 2016 PageTurners: Jon Palfreman

Jon PalfremanSaturday, November 19, 2016, 4-5 p.m..
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author and UO Professor Emeritus Jon Palfreman

For Fall term 2016, the text is Jon Palfreman’s Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease.


Spring 2016 PageTurners: Debra Gwartney

Debra GwartneySaturday, May 7, 2016, 4-5 p.m..
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author Debra Gwartney

For Spring term 2016, the text is Debra Gwartney’s Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love, an intensely emotional and redemptive memoir about a mother’s mission to rescue her runaway daughters.


2015 PageTurners: Alex Tizon

Sunday, May 16, 2015
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author and SOJC Assistant Professor Alex Tizon

For Spring term 2015, the text is Alex Tizon’s Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, a hybrid memoir-history that takes a groundbreaking look at the experience and psyche of the Asian American male.


2014 PageTurners: Masha Gessen

Gessen_MashaSunday, April 13, 2014
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author Masha Gessen

For Spring term 2014 the text is Masha Gessen’s Words Will Break Cement, which explores the Moscow women activists and punk rockers calling themselves Pussy Riot and their confrontations with the authorities and Vladimir Putin’s rule.

Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who is the author of several books, most recently the national bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Newsweek, Slate, and many other publications, and has received numerous awards, most recently the 2013 Media for Liberty Award. She has served as the editor of several publications and as director of Radio Liberty’s Russia Service.

2013 PageTurners: Lisa Margonelli

Margonelli_LisaSaturday, February 23, 2013
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author Lisa Margonelli

For Winter term 2013 the text is Lisa Margonelli’s Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline, which follows the people, pipelines and politics that bring us energy.

Lisa Margonelli is currently an Irvine Fellow at the New America Foundation. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, Business 2.0, Discover, and Jane, and was the recipient of a Sundance Institute Fellowship and an excellence in journalism award from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists.

2012 PageTurners: Thomas Christensen

Christensen_TomSaturday, March 3, 2012
Hosted by James Wallace Chair Peter Laufer
Led by Guest Author Thomas Christensen

Thomas ChristensenFor Winter term 2012 the text is Thomas Christensen’s 1616: The World in Motion, a study of a pivotal year in world history, and the beginning of the global economy and its megacorporations. Shakespeare and Cervantes died. Galileo declared the earth spins. Women were redefining family roles. Slave trading was flourishing. Pocahontas went to London for a royal visit. 1616: The World in Motion addresses issues of race, gender and migration that lead directly to 2012.

Thomas Christensen is an author, editor and translator, and he is the director of publications at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

2011 PageTurners: Andrew Ervin

Andrew ErvinFor Winter term 2011 is Andrew Ervin’s Extraordinary Renditions, a collection of three linked novellas, tells three stories from the point of view of three different characters over the course of the few days leading up to and following Hungary’s Independence Day, March 15, in the early 2000s in and near Budapest, Hungary.

Andrew Ervin’s fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction International, and the Southern Review, and his criticism has appeared in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, USA Today, and The Believer. Extraordinary Renditions is his first book.