Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program
Posted October 21, 2019
In Circe —Madeline Miller’s second novel and the newest NEA Big Read title—the goddess/witch moves from the sidelines of The Odyssey to the center stage of her own story. Miller knows and loves the classics and Circe is an imaginative response to questions Miller had about the exiled goddess. She doesn’t change the story so much as expand it and give us Circe’s back story. For example, Circe still turns men into pigs, as she does in Homer’s telling, but in Miller’s book she gives us the context behind this piece of magic. In the linked podcast below, Miller talks about gods and mortals, the fine distinctions between witches and goddesses, what shifts when you put a woman’s story in an epic frame, the timelessness and timeliness of these myths, and why every woman should have a lion. She is engaging, fun and funny—in other words, she’s a great addition to the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program!
The NEA Big Read annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Arts Midwest manages the NEA Big Read grants program. Each community program that receives an NEA Big Read grant—which ranges between $5,000 and $15,000—is also provided with resources, outreach materials, and training on various aspects such as working with local partners, developing public relations strategies, and leading book discussions and Q&As. The programs last one month or longer and include a kick-off event, often attended by the mayor and other local luminaries; major events devoted specifically to the book (e.g., panel discussions and author reading); events using the book as a point of departure (e.g., film screenings and theatrical readings); and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,500 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $21 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 13 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible.
NEA Big Read applications are due January 29, 2020 – so get in touch with us today if you’re interested in grabbing a 2020-21 date with Madeline!