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NEA Big Read

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery. Annually, the program supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read book.

Program impact

  • Learn more about the mission and history of the NEA Big Read.
  • Read the latest community stories and reflections from grantees on the NEA Big Read blog.

How to Apply

Arts Midwest accepts requests for proposals annually starting in October with a deadline in late January. Proposals accepted during this time represent programs that would take place the following year anytime from September through June. The next grant opportunity will be available in October 2019 for NEA Big Read programs to take place between September 2020 – June 2021.

Submit your intent to apply!

Learn more about the application process.


Joshua Feist, program director
[email protected]