The Big Read Kicks Off This Month


Publication Date: 3/3/2009

The Big Read Kick-Off with actor and literacy advocate Darius Wallace will be held March 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Free and open to the public, the event takes place in the Meeting Room.

Free copies of the selected reading—A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines—will be available. Also participants can sign up for community book discussion groups.

Rhodes is one of 208 organizations that received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support The Big Read programs addressing the national decline in literary reading. The Big Read in Memphis will take place March 17 to April 28. Free and open to the public, other events include:

Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 31, 7:00 p.m
Rhodes College, Barret Library 051
The focus of the event will be on providing multiple perspectives on the book: overall plot and themes; issues of religion and faith and issues of social justice. Panelists are Ms. Barbara J. Williams, (retired, secondary special education public school teacher), Dr. Marshall Boswell (Associate Professor English, Rhodes College), and Dr. Aram Goudsouzian (Assistant Professor of History, The University of Memphis). The facilitator is Dr. Luther Ivory (Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Rhodes College).

After Work Dinner and Discussion
Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Hollywood Community Center, 1560 N. Hollywood St.
Potluck dinner and a discussion of the book A Lesson Before Dying. Members of the Hollywood Community especially are encouraged to attend.
Live Video-Conference with Ernest Gaines
Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m.

Rhodes College, Barret Library 051
The author will discuss A Lesson Before Dying followed by a short question and answer session.

Free copies of A Lesson Before Dying are available for book groups while supplies last. For information about events, joining a book club, hosting a new book group, or volunteering to facilitate a book group, contact Marci Hendrix at 901-843-3745.

Rhodes College presents The Big Read in partnership with the Memphis Public Library, Mid South Reads, and the Hollywood Community Center.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. More information about The Big Read can be found at