Art Works Blog

The Big Read

Did you know that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 was one of the original books for the NEA Big Read ? In this short film— created expressly for the program—Bradbury, who received the National Medal of Arts in 2004, enthuses about his enduring love of libraries, reveals how an encounter with a...
Maybe it’s the hot hazy days of summer that make my surroundings feel surreal sometimes, but I’ve been thinking about strange creatures lately. Evenings especially can be eerily quiet with so many of my fellow city dwellers out of town that I get to thinking: what else is out there in the dark? Did...
"We live in what is, but we find a thousand ways not to face it. Great theater strengthens our faculty to face it." — Thornton Wilder What's on your summer reading list? Visit the NEA Big Read library if you're looking for suggestions—from Thornton Wilder's classic play Our Town to Emily St. John...
NEA Big Read author Nathaniel Philbrick hated Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick as a teenager because his father, an English professor specializing in maritime literature, talked at length about the book. Once he finally read it in high school, he was hooked by the first sentence, and to this day...
“It is inspiring to see both large and small communities across the nation come together around a book. We always look forward to the unique ways cities, towns, and organizations explore these stories and encourage community participation in a wide variety of events.” — Mary Anne Carter, Acting...
"I transitioned to writing after failing as a painter, and I do recommend failure. I think it's a very good experience for anyone to go through." — Julie Otsuka Learn more about author Julie Otsuka—author of the NEA Big Read title When the Emperor Was Divine —and the other writers who are part of...
Conversations with NEA Creative Writing Fellow and new NEA Big Read author David Tomas Martinez often find him in the midst of some joyous activity, like perusing the aisles of the Century 21 department store (where some of the cashiers know him by name), in his kitchen whipping up some delicious...
Kao Kalia Yang’s The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir is the first published memoir by a Hmong-American writer. Hmongs are an ethnic Asian group with a rich culture and roots in China and Laos. The Hmong’s history is little known in the West, although it’s been deeply entwined with the United...
You can find NEA Big Read author Stephanie Burt among the obscure fandoms of comic books, indie rock bands, women’s basketball, science fiction, and, above all, poetry. She’s written several books on how to read poetry, given a TED talk called “Why People Need Poetry” that’s been viewed over a...
NEA Big Read author Jeff VanderMeer spent his early years in the Fiji Islands where his father, an entomologist and research chemist, went to study rhinoceros beetles until he turned his attention to fire ants and moved the family to Gainesville, Florida. A lifelong birdwatcher, VanderMeer has...

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