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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...
Poet Mary Oliver's profound wisdom came from a deep connection with nature, and with her boundless capacity for simply paying attention. The questions she asked were large, yet the answers she suggested were (deceptively) simple. Pay attention, she urged. Wisdom is all around us—if we're willing to...
Matt Reeck received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship in 2013. A widely published poet, he is also one of the editors of the literary magazine Staging Ground and has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and...
"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...
"But literature, I discovered, can also save you. Truly. Over the cliché and through the truth, it can save." — Porochista Khakpour, NEA Creative Writing Fellow
"Let your fear drive you to do your homework. But no matter what, don’t ever let your fear stop you." — Gene Luen Yang I'm a comic book guy, so I'd like to talk about another comic book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African...
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...
At approximately 9:30 pm on Wednesday, May 1, Isabella Callery (Anishinaabe)—one of only nine students to make it to make the final round of competition from a field of more than 275,000 high schoolers—heard her name announced as the 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. When we spoke with her...
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...

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