McFarland High School students were among the more than 1,000 high school students from 24 Wisconsin schools to participate in the UW-Madison and Center for the Humanities Great World Texts program Monday, March 9.

Held on the UW campus, the 16th annual event touched on education, creativity, world literature and Wisconsin. The program draws from world literature as a way to help students engage with big ideas.

Students spent the day on campus, where they had a chance to meet renowned writer Suzanne Jill Levine and engage with the novel by Manual Puig, “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

For the last year, these students have read Puig’s novel and created projects (paintings, speeches, dances, maps, clothing and more) that helped them connect the book to their own interests.

Drawing from world literature throughout the ages, Great World Texts’ selection of materials reflects an understanding of the idea of the “literary classic.” In previous years, faculty, teachers and students have collaborated on texts associated with 16th century China, ancient Greece and contemporary India. Each year, participating students read and discuss one such work in their classrooms and create projects that connect the book to their own interests.

The night of the event, Levine gave a presentation at the Madison Central Library about the life and works of Puig. Levine explored her friendship with the Argentine writer, her translation of his novels and the craft of literary translation.

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