Home News & Events Now accepting applications: NEA Big Read 2021-2022

Now accepting applications: NEA Big Read 2021-2022

Are you looking for support to bring your community together, share the joy of a good book, and find inspiration in new stories and ideas? Arts Midwest is now inviting applications for the 2021-2022 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program.


Students connect at an NEA Big Read event hosted in South Orange, NJ. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Essex County Library Directors

For nearly 15 years, NEA Big Read has inspired communities to come together over the joy of a good book. While we can’t all come together in-person this year to the extent we have in the past, Arts Midwest looks forward to supporting organizations as they test innovative ways to connect their audiences in virtual spaces, offer socially distant programs, and ensure that communities still have access to creativity, literature, and the important stories and ideas embedded in these books.

Here are the 5 things you should know as you apply:

  • Organizations can access up to $20,000 in support for community-wide reading programs, whether those are held in-person or apart.
  • The deadline for grant applications is January 27, 2021.
  • Eligible organizations include arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, institutions of higher education, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments.
  • There are six titles available for 2021-2022 programming and we’ll be sharing readers and teachers guides in Spring 2021 for each book: An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories by Jack London, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.
  • A webinar for interested applicants will be held on November 12, 2020, at 1 pm ET. Register here.



Learn More and Apply




National Endowment for the Arts Big Read is supported by the Endowment in partnership with Arts Midwest.