As we prepare to bid farewell to 2017, we’ve been taking a look back on the amazing things that happened in 2017, through a year in review. But you shouldn’t take our word for it—so we thought we’d leave it up to our NEA Big Read grantees to lead us into the new year. From 2017’s final reports, we pulled grantees’ most commonly used words to describe their Big Read: and the results speak for themselves.
And while 2017 may be ending, our grantees aren’t saying goodbye to these words or these themes anytime soon. In 2018, they are dreaming bigger than ever. From supporting small businesses to taking on the works of William Shakespeare, here are some of the New Year’s resolutions our Big Read community is taking on in 2018.
- UW-Parkside Library, Shauna Edson: “We can’t wait for the Big Read to warm us up in southeastern Wisconsin! There will be movie screenings, book discussions, lectures, beer tastings and orienteering races to get the community out of hibernation and into the participating public libraries, technical college, non-profits and small businesses in Kenosha and Racine!”
- Dearborn Public Library, Henry Fischer: We look forward to our Big Read Kickoff on Sunday, March 18, 3-5 p.m. at the Michael A. Guido Theater in the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, featuring free copies of The Namesake and live performances from a number of groups representing a sampling of Dearborn’s cultural diversity. Through our call for entries and other related programs, we hope to learn more about our neighbors’ cultural roots as well as our own. On one level, The Namesake deals with the American experience, and from that perspective we aim to reach out to everyone in our community in the sense that we are all immigrants, whether of the current generation or our ancestors. Each one of us has a name, and many of us question where it came from, what it means, and how it connects or differentiates us from our fellow human beings. Having begun this literary and cultural exploration, we are continually reminded that both differences and similarities are to be equally celebrated.
- The University of Central Florida, Keri Watson: This January, UCF will host its 3rd Big Read. We are excited to share Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears with our community and look forward to bringing programming to the Seminole County Public Libraries, the UCF Art Gallery, and several area prisons.
- Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association, Heather Heath: This is our eleventh Big Read (how appropriate) and it is an eagerly anticipated event in the community. We are particularly looking forward to Station Eleven as it is allowing us to also dive into all things Shakespeare! In essence, we have a Bigger Read since we are taking on The Bard as well. Our New Year’s Resolution/Goal for Station Eleven is that our community really takes the heart the idea that “Survival is Insufficient” and steps up to celebrate and participate in the rich cultural life that is available here in Brunswick and Coastal GA.
- SUNY Plattsburgh, Julia Devine: In Plattsburgh, we hope our Big Read will bring unlikely groups together to bond over a good book and make this place feel like home for everyone! With The Round House, we hope to connect with our Akwesasne neighbors in a profound way—going beyond stereotypes—and to learn more about Akwesasne life. We’re excited to bring the Native North American Traveling College for our community launch, premiere a Joseph Bruchac book on a recreational storybook trail, and showcase Ojibwe hip hop and film, an Earth Day bike ride, a writing in the margins project, community storytelling, and more.