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Book awards: NEA Big Read

Book awards by cover

Works (29)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain2009
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton2009
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya2009
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder2009
The Call of the Wild by Jack London2009
The Death of Ivan Ilych & Hadyi Murad by Leo Tolstoy2009
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy2009
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe2009
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury2009
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway2009
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck2009
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers2009
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson2009
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan2009
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines2009
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich2009
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett2009
My Ántonia by Willa Cather2009
Old School by Tobias Wolff2009
Poe: Poetry and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe2009
Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow2009
The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers by Robinson Jeffers2009
The Shawl: A Story and Novella by Cynthia Ozick2009
Sun, Stone, and Shadows 20 Great Mexican Short Stories (Tezontle) by Jorge F. Hernandez2009
The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz2009
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien2009
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee2009
Washington Square by Henry James2009
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin2009

Award description


The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

The Big Read answers a big need. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. The concerned citizen in search of good news about American literary culture would study the pages of this report in vain.

The Big Read aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The initiative includes innovative reading programs in selected cities and towns, comprehensive resources for discussing classic literature, an ambitious national publicity campaign, and an extensive Web site providing comprehensive information on authors and their works.

Each community event lasts approximately one month and includes a kick-off event to launch the program locally, ideally attended by the mayor and other local luminaries; major events devoted specifically to the book (panel discussions, author reading, and the like); events using the book as a point of departure (film screenings, theatrical readings, and so forth); and book discussions in diverse locations and aimed at a wide range of audiences.


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