One State / One Story: The Year We Left Home

One State / One Story invites Hoosiers to engage deeply with a book as part of a statewide conversation tied to Indiana Humanities’ current theme.

One State / One Story: The Year We Left Home

Indiana Humanities’ One State / One Story program invites Hoosiers to engage deeply with a book as part of a statewide conversation tied to our current theme. In 2020, during the second year of INseparable, we’ll read and discuss Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home, which offers a sweeping, multigenerational look at life in the Midwest over the past several decades. Read more about why we chose The Year We Left Home.

Programs will take place across the state during 2020. See below for an overview of what kinds of program support Indiana Humanities provides as part of One State / One Story: The Year We Left Home.

Program Guide

Indiana Humanities’ Program Guide contains program ideas, reading and film lists, essays and more about Thompson’s The Year We Left Home. While this guide has been developed for Community Read program hosts, anyone can reference the guide for information and ideas about Thompson’s novel.

Community Read Grants

During 2020, 28 Indiana organizations will host Community Reads, series of three or more programs that explore the themes and ideas of Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home, especially  Midwestern identity, urban/rural dynamics and the meaning of home.

Campus Read Grants

Four Indiana colleges and universities have been awarded Campus Read grants to support course development, program series and other campus events about the themes of Jean’s Thompson’s novel The Year We Left Home.

INconversation with Jean Thompson

Tuesday, November 10 | 7pm-8pm

Join us for a special INconversation with Jean Thompson, the author of The Year We Left Home, Indiana Humanities’ 2020 selection for its One State / One Story statewide read. Barb Shoup, the founding director of the Indiana Writers Center, will moderate a conversation about place, identity and writing in the Midwest. This virtual event is free but advanced registration is required.

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About the Book

The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson family through the many changes affecting American life at the end of the twentieth century. From city rooftops to country farms, college campuses to small-town main streets, the characters in Thompson’s novel search for fulfillment and happiness in an ever-changing, often alienating country. The story asks us to consider the enduring, uniting power of place—why we choose to leave and when we decide to come home.

About the Author

Jean Thompson is a novelist and short-story writer. Her works include the novels A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, She Poured Out Her Heart, The Humanity Project, The Year We Left Home, City Boy, Wide Blue Yonder, The Woman Driver, and My Wisdom, as well as the short-story collections The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told, Do Not Deny Me, Throw Like a Girl, Who Do You Love (a National Book Award finalist), Little Face and Other Stories, and The Gasoline Wars. Thompson’s short fiction has been published in many magazines and journals, including the New Yorker, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. Thompson has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, among other accolades, and has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Reed College, Northwestern University and other colleges and universities. She lives in Urbana, Illinois.


Contact Megan Telligman, program manager ( / 317.616.9409).