The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Talking About the Hard Things: The Big Read in the Nation's Capital

Washington, DC

Washington, DC Metro station by O Paisson via Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/opalsson/ / CC BY 2.0)

This spring Washington, DC---the NEA's hometown--is celebrating a Big Read of Ernest J. Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying thanks to the Public Library of the District of Columbia and the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.  Here in the office we were all struck by this article in today's Washington Post. In telling the story of the District's Big Read, Post writer DeNeen Brown gets at one of the core ideas of the program---to give neighbors a way to talk about the hard things, a way to start building bridges and---hopefully---start tearing down some fences. Here's the opening paragraph of Brown's article:

What lessons could a city learn from reading the same book at the same time? What lessons could be learned in a city trying to heal from senseless violence -- from a drive-by shooting in Southeast Washington that killed three teenagers last month? Could a city heal from a book that tells a complicated story about injustice, racism and the need for second chances?

Read the rest of the Washington Post story here.

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