A new year often marks a period of reflection and gratitude and serves as inspiration to tackle the new year. At Arts Midwest, we wanted to take a moment to look back at all the adventures our Big Read grantees have taken this year. From creative programming to community partnerships, this series explores some of the highlights from the NEA Big Read in 2017.
Where In the World Is…?
In The Catcher In the Rye, J.D. Salinger famously wrote, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
Salinger’s Holden Caulfield would have been surprised by how much it happens with our Big Read authors. From coast to coast, our grantees are welcoming authors to their conversations, kickoffs, keynotes, and more.
- The Attleboro Public Library hosted Station Eleven author Emily St. John Mandel for a Q&A with New England-based author Ethan Gilsdorf, sharing: “Participants enjoyed hearing her take on why she wrote the story as she did. A lot of readers’ misgivings with the storyline were assuaged upon hearing the author’s reasoning for why the story was told in the published manner.”
Emily St. John Mandel taking a photo at the Attleboro Arts Museum, Photo taken by Joan Pilkington Smith
Emily St. John Mandel with microphone during her keynote talk, Photo taken by Joan Pilkington Smith
- The Toms River Regional Schools prepared for Emily St. John Mandel’s keynote it by hosting giveaways, essay contests, and raffle tickets to give community members the chance to participate in an author meet and greet, noting after her visit: “Emily’s speaking engagement was extraordinary—revealing, funny, and introspective—and she meshed splendidly with the Ocean County College panelists and answered questions from the audience with aplomb and thoughtfulness.”
- The Anaheim Public Library received Into the Beautiful North author Luis Alberto Urrea as the featured speaker of their NEA Big Read Opening Day, sharing: “…all residents who heard him speak were charmed and encouraged by his humanity and resilience. Residents appreciated the fact that the book discussed difficult topics in a light and thoughtful way – illegal immigration, families separated by borders, the narcotics trade and impact, feminism in a traditional culture, etc.”
Author Luis Alberto Urrea takes photo with fans at Anaheim Public Library Kickoff, Photo taken by Judy Kraemer
- The Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop welcomed author Claudia Rankine for a craft workshop at Lighthouse, as well as a public community conversation with Mayor Michael B. Hancock on excerpts from Citizen: An American Lyric, the intersection of art and politics, and the role of imagination in critical conversation.
Claudia Rankine at podium during Denver Talks event, Photo taken by Amanda Tipton