Event Recaps | 19 May 2024

The Deep Read – Hernan Diaz in Conversation with Zac Zimmer


On May 19, 2024 The Humanities Institute produced its fifth annual Deep Read program. The 2024 Deep Read culminated in a live discussion of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Trust with author Hernan Diaz in conversation with Deep Read Faculty Lead, Associate Professor of Literature Zac Zimmer. Many people gathered for this insightful discussion at the Kaiser Permanente Arena, Downtown Santa Cruz.

Trust pairs the music of the roaring 1920s with the staccato rhythm of the ticker tape in an exploration of how trusts, bonds, and other financial instruments of the early twentieth century penetrate the very core of human relationships and the stories we tell about them. Together we’ll consider how the technologies of finance and fiction overlap in this novel about capitalism and its social, cultural, and political power in the U.S.

Watch a recording of the event here:

View photos of the event here:


Exploring Trust

As we do every year, we read our annual text closely and comprehensively with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz.

Our Deep Read Scholars

We’ve enlisted a knowledgeable group of UC Santa Cruz professors who will help us analyze the book: 

Lori Kletzer, Economics, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Madhavi Murty, Feminist Studies
Dard Neuman, Music
Zac Zimmer, Literature and Deep Read Faculty Lead

We read and explored Hernan Diaz’s book with the Deep Read community over 4 weeks, starting in late-April.

Here’s what we did:

Email Explorations

We produced 4 weekly emails that reflected on a different aspect of the book, guided by this year’s Deep Read scholars.

Faculty Salon

On May 6, we hosted a hybrid salon-style event where our participating professors lead a discussion of the book with UCSC students and the broader Deep Read community.

Craft Salon

On April 30, we had an online conversation about the writing craft of Hernan Diaz’s Trust. UC Santa Cruz-affiliated novelists Micah Perks (Professor of Literature and Creative Writing), Elizabeth McKenzie (Merrill ’81, Literature), and Maria Pachon (Literature PhD student in the Creative/Critical Writing Concentration) discussed the techniques deployed in this experimental novel and highlighted creative dimensions of the book.

The Class

In Spring Quarter 2024, Lecturer and THI Program Manager Laura Martin taught a course at Porter College for UCSC students exploring Trust and Hernan Diaz’s other writings. Many insights from the class were shared with the broader Deep Read community throughout the program.

The Deep Read is an annual program of The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz. We invite curious minds to think deeply about books and the most pressing issues of our contemporary moment with the help from scholars at UC Santa Cruz.

The Deep Read Program is made possible through the generous support of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.