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Spring into the Semester Common Reading Program: Home

Common Reading 2020: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor NoahTrevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison.

Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. 

Born a Crime (Penguin Random House)


Please register to indicate your plans to participate in the Dickinson College community discussion of Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah at the Waidner-Spahr Library on Monday, January 20, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

Your registration will help us to determine the number of discussion facilitators required to make this a meaningful conversation for all who participate.

A limited number of free copies of this book are available for registrants.

Participants may borrow a copy from the Circulation Desk at Waidner-Spahr Library. 

About Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah: Guardian Live Interview (1 hour, 31 minutes)

Trevor Noah: Human Capital is Changing the Future (9 minutes)

Breaking Big: Trevor Noah (26 mins)

Borrow Born a Crime from the Waidner-Spahr Library

Past Common Reading Programs

About the Spring into the Semester Common Reading Program

The common reading program is designed to provide shared intellectual experiences, build community, and encourage dialogue and discussion on a timely issue. This is an opportunity for the Dickinson community to come together at the beginning of the spring semester, when there are few broad community-centered programs already scheduled. It will also allow students who were abroad in the fall semester to connect with the broader community as part of their reintegration into campus life.

The next common reading event will take place at the Waidner-Spahr Library on Monday, January 20, 2020, the first day of the Spring 2020 semester. 

This event is sponsored by the Dickinson College Division of Academic Affairs, Human Resource Services, Division of Student Life, and the Waidner-Spahr Library. Books for alumni are provided by the Office of Engagement & the Dickinson Fund. 

For more information, contact Donna Bickford ( or Jessica Howard (