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SAN JOSE, CA - In recognition of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the U.S., Silicon Valley Reads 2020 will celebrate the achievements and relentless perseverance of women as the focus of the annual community engagement program that offers events and activities for all ages throughout Santa Clara County. The theme, “Women Making It Happen," explores impressive historical accomplishments, and looks toward the future as women are defining who they are as a gender as well as what is achievable.
Two books have been selected as the centerpiece of the program – The Tenth Muse, a novel by Catherine Chung, and Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie. Both critically-acclaimed books tell stories of women who broke barriers to excel in fields traditionally dominated by men. Their success is inspirational and informational to both women and men on how to develop future leaders based on skills and not rooted in gender.
Silicon Valley Reads 2020 will kick off with a special event on Thursday evening, Jan. 23, at De Anza College Visual & Performing Arts Center in Cupertino. More than 100 additional free events will follow in February and March that provide information, ideas and entertainment about a wide variety of women and their accomplishments, starting with the tenacious individuals who worked so hard to get women the right to vote in the early 1900s. Programs will include an art exhibit titled “Women Pathmakers" at the De Anza College Euphrat Museum of Art, films, panel discussions, author talks, and activities for children and teens. In addition to the public events, Silicon Valley Reads will have educational programs in local schools.
This is the 18th year of Silicon Valley Reads which is presented annually by Santa Clara County Library District, Santa Clara County Office of Education and San José Public Library. It is co-chaired by Santa Clara County Librarian Nancy Howe, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, and San José Library Director Jill Bourne.
“Silicon Valley Reads 2020 will celebrate and commemorate the collective action of courageous women in our society," said Dr. Dewan. “Each of us has experienced the power of collective action – the opportunity to join like-minded individuals to accomplish a common goal. The featured books will help us build on a community conversation about the strength and courage necessary to fight for equity, diversity, and inclusivity, and inspire our youth to do the same."
In Alpha Girls, award-winning journalist Julian Guthrie tracks the careers and personal lives of four entrepreneurial women in the Silicon Valley venture capital community who were instrumental in the rise of such companies as Facebook, Imperva, Tesla, Trulia, Salesforce and more. The best-selling book is being adapted for a television series.
"I'm honored that Alpha Girls was chosen for the 2020 Silicon Valley Reads program," said Guthrie. “I can't wait to share the inspiring, untold stories of incredible women who helped build some of the foremost companies of our day. I'm eager to talk in actionable terms about how women can succeed in male-dominated industries, how men can be great allies, and what this means for boys and girls who want to be next-generation leaders and innovators."
Novelist Catherine Chung focuses on a fictional trailblazer – an exceptional female mathematician who embarks on a quest to conquer the Riemann hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time and discovers along the way her own mysterious family history and secrets long buried during World War II. Chung's research into the work of significant female mathematicians and her undergraduate degree in math provides the foundation for a captivating tale about legacy and identity.
“I am so delighted that The Tenth Muse has been chosen for the Silicon Valley Reads program, with its focus this year on women breaking gender barriers," said Chung. “To the extent that I meant The Tenth Muse to be both a chronicle of such women in history (particularly those working in STEM) as well as a contribution to the collective imagination around such women, I feel it couldn't be a more perfect fit, and I am beyond excited to get to be part of your community to talk with you about these things."
Silicon Valley Reads is also announcing the selection of three companion books for children – The Most Magnificent Thing, a picture book by Ashley Spires, and two books from author Tanya Lee Stone, Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers: The Story of Ada Lovelace and Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream. All three books reflect Silicon Valley Read's 2020 theme and provide pre-readers and students in grades K-8 with fun, informative books that will educate and inspire.
More information on Silicon Valley Reads and the plans for 2020 can be found on the website SiliconValleyReads.org. The complete list of Silicon Valley Reads 2020 events will be posted at the end of December 2019.