The Advisory Council has selected The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri as the Common Reader for next year’s scholarship competition. Lefteri’s stunning text of the journey of refugees from war-torn Syria to England won the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize. Lefteri herself worked in a refugee camp in Athens, seeing firsthand the trauma of travelers forced to flee their homeland. Time magazine reporter Naina Bajekal writes that "by creating charaters with such rich, complex inner lives, Lefteri shows that in order to stretch compassion to millions of people, it helps to begin with one." (Time, September 2, 2019).
Applicants for the Merit Scholarships are to read this text and select a prompt as the basis of their application submissions.