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"The poems and the poets that I'm most attracted to are the ones that, at the end, I feel as if I've learned something about them. And by learning something about them, I learn something about myself." — David Tomas Martinez , Poet, NEA Creative Writing Fellow, and NEA Big Read author Read our Art...
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...
As a black, queer poet who did not pursue an MFA in writing, Alison Rollins describes her many achievements as “kind of a Cinderella story. I'm coming from an under-represented demographic. I'm coming from a family or household where this really was a far cry.” In the past few years, Rollins—who...
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...
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...

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