Rhodes Among Communities Taking Part in The Big Read

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Publication Date: 7/6/2007

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that Rhodes College is one of 117 organizations that will receive a grant to support The Big Read programs that address the national decline in literary reading. The Big Read, launched nationally in 2006 by the NEA in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, asks communities to come together to read and discuss a single book.

Harper Lee′s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird is the selected reading for The Big Read in Memphis that will run from October 1 to November 15, 2007. Events planned include:

• Kick-off: Memphis Reads To Kill a Mockingbird
• Book discussion groups
• Panel Discussion: To Kill a Mockingbird and Race Relations
• Family Night: Atticus Finch and Parenting
• Theatre Night: Performance of To Kill a Mockingbird

Dates and more details about the events will be posted on the Rhodes website in upcoming months. Memphis is one of nearly 200 communities in 2007 to participate in The Big Read.

“By joining The Big Read, these cities and towns are showing that reading is necessary to the cultural, civic, even economic fabric of their communities. They understand the benefit of having people from different generations and walks of life reading and discussing a great book,” says NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. “Yes, this is about reading, but it’s also about getting people to leave their homes and offices, unplug themselves for a few hours, and enjoy the pleasures of literature with their neighbors.”

Rhodes president William E. Troutt says, “We are delighted to be part of this national initiative to encourage Memphians to read a classic work of fiction and discuss large issues that remain current in our city. The Big Read fits perfectly with other Rhodes initiatives.

Those with specific inquiries about The Big Read in Memphis can contact Cathy Palmer at 901-843-3958. For a list of communities participating in The Big Read visit www.neabigread.org