National Endowment for the Arts Announces New Additions
January 22, 2009
Washington, D.C. -- Communities looking to rekindle their love of reading by joining the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reading initiative The Big Read will soon have even more great books to choose from. Today the NEA announced the addition of two new selections to The Big Read library: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez and A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. These titles will be available for Big Read grant projects taking place from September 2010-June 2011.
The NEA is also expanding its American Literary Landmarks program for the 2010-2011 grant cycle to include Chicago poet Carl Sandburg. In partnership with the Poetry Foundation, American Literary Landmarks is the component of The Big Read that celebrates great American poets and the nation's historic poetry sites. Established as a pilot program in 2007, applicants can now choose to celebrate one of the American Literary Landmarks poets -- Emily Dickinson, Robinson Jeffers, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -- for their Big Read project.
A complete list of the featured titles in The Big Read library is available at www.neabigread.org.
About The Big Read
The Big Read provides citizens with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate a single book or poet within their communities. To date, the NEA has funded more than 500 Big Read projects in the nation's towns and cities. The initiative supports innovative reading programs in selected communities, providing engaging educational resources for discussing The Big Read books, expansive outreach and publicity campaigns, and an extensive Web site offering comprehensive information about the featured Big Read authors and their works.
The deadline for applying for 2009-2010 Big Read funding is February 3, 2009. Applicants may select from the current 27 books and three poets. Application guidelines are available at www.neabigread.org. The deadline for applying for 2010-2011 Big Read funding, including support for projects celebrating the new books and poet, will be announced at www.neabigread.org at a later date.
Each community's Big Read includes a kick-off, activities devoted specifically to its Big Read selection (e.g., panel discussions, lectures, public readings), events using the book as a point of departure (e.g., film screenings, theatrical readings, exhibits), and book discussions in diverse locations aimed at a wide range of audiences.
The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Additional support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Big Read in the Pacific Northwest is also supported, in part, by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Educational materials for American Literary Landmarks sites are made possible through the generous support of the Poetry Foundation. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.
About the new additions to The Big Read
Published in 1994, Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies tells the story of the four Mirabal sisters growing up in dictator Rafael Trujillo's Dominican Republic. Interweaving the everyday and the extraordinary, Alvarez's novel explores the fierce courage of the oppressed under the crushing power of tyranny.
A metaphysical masterpiece, Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It, published in 1976, is the only book ever completed by this retired English professor. Combining rueful questioning with majestic descriptions of the Montana Rockies, this novella chronicles the narrator's final outings with his talented but troubled brother and his clergyman father, for whom "there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."
A son of Swedish immigrants, Carl Sandburg wrote free verse that captures both the American landscape and the workers who labor in its fields and factories. Also known for his landmark six-volume Lincoln biography, some of Sandburg's finest poetry includes 1916's Chicago Poems, a tribute to his beloved "city of the big shoulders," where "The fog comes/on little cat feet."
NEA releases new study on rising reading rates
The NEA recently announced a new survey, Reading on the Rise, which documents a definitive increase in rates and numbers of American adults who read literature, with the biggest increases among young adults, ages 18-24. This new growth reverses two decades of downward trends previously cited in NEA reports such as Reading at Risk and To Read or Not To Read. The publication is available at http://www.arts.gov/research/Research_brochures.php.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. For more information please visit www.imls.gov.
Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit www.artsmidwest.org.
Return to News Index
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20506