How Is a UUA Common Read Selected?

Each year, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) accepts nominations on a rolling basis for the next Common Read book selection. Nominations must be received by the end of April, and must be submitted from a Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation or group or from a UUA headquarters or district staff group, including Skinner House Books and Beacon Press. The UUA prioritizes nominations from congregations or groups, rather than from individuals. To nominate a book for 2019-2020 using our online form. For more information contact Gail Forsyth-Vail, Adult Programs Director,

Selection Committee

A committee including UUA headquarters and field staff reads and reviews the nominated books, then meets during the summer to evaluate each nominated book:

  • Does it offer an engaging, accessible read?
  • How relevant is its theme to Unitarian Universalism at this particular time?
  • Have Unitarian Universalist congregations and groups expressed interest in this book?
  • Will engagement with the book strengthen Unitarian Universalist identity and practice? Will it deepen and develop Unitarian Universalist faith?
  • How well does the book lend itself to follow-up action after reading and discussing?
  • Is it available in paperback at a reasonable price?
  • Is it available as an e-book and an audio book?
  • Is the book of a length that makes it possible for people to finish it easily?

While viewing publication by Skinner House or Beacon Press or a Unitarian Universalist author as desirable, the selection committee believes that the ultimate success of the Common Read program depends on offering the most compelling book selection possible.

Common Read Time Line and Discussion Guide

Once a book is selected, the UUA creates a discussion guide for Unitarian Universalist congregations to use. The guide is available free online. It typically offers plans for a single session and a series of three sessions. Discussion guides for past Common Read selections remain available online.

The UUA announces the new Common Read selection at the start of the congregational year, online and in UUA communications including the Congregational Bulletin e-newsletter and social media. The UUA discussion guide is published several weeks later, by early October.

Congregations are invited at intervals throughout the year to offer feedback about the program and report on actions they are undertaking as a result of the Common Read.