NEA Big Read to Launch in February

The Lake County Library is set to launch its 2023 NEA Big Read programming in February for the first time since pre-COVID 2018. The NEA Big Read will commence with a kickoff event at the Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College in Clearlake on February 9, 2023, from 12-2 pm. The kickoff event will feature an information session, free copies of the NEA Big Read book, and an open forum to celebrate love stories and language. District Supervisors will be joining college and library staff and the public for the kickoff event.

NEA Big Read events will continue throughout February and March and will include a diverse calendar of events from book discussions and writing workshops to museum presentations on family and local water history and Farmers’ Market booths. A children’s Little Read will also be offered with four Storytimes at library branches, featuring age-appropriate books with themes relating to the NEA Big Read book.

Programming will conclude with a virtual author event featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natalie Diaz, author of Postcolonial Love Poem. This closing event will be hosted by the Friends of Mendocino County and will take place at the Mendocino College Lake Center on Saturday, March 18, 2023, from 1-3 pm. The virtual event will be live-streamed from the college Round Room and all four branches of the Lake County Library.

The final event will take place at the Lakeport Library on Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 1-2 pm and features a Poets Laureate Reading including Lake County’s Poet Laureate, California’s newly appointed State Poet Laureate, and Poets Laureate from Alameda and Ukiah.

The public is invited to attend all NEA Big Read events at no cost, and free books are provided at each event and all library branches until supply runs out. To view the full schedule of events, go to http://www.lakecountybigread.com/. Follow the Big Read on Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/LakeCountyBigRead/.

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, which seeks to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery.

The Lake County Library is a recipient of a $9,500 grant to host the NEA Big Read countywide with dynamic community reading programs and selected Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz for 2023 programming.

Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Postcolonial Love Poem is a collection of poetry by Arizona poet Natalie Diaz—who is Mojave, an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe, Latinx, and queer. The poems push against the forces of racism, environmental destruction, addiction, and mental illness with the power of desire, love, and language. From publisher Gray Wolf Press, “Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that everybody carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds.”

Follow the Lake County Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or sign up for the online newsletter for updates. Visit the Lake County Library’s website at http://library.lakecountyca.gov.

Visit arts.gov/neabigread for more information about the NEA Big Read. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s at https://artsmidwest.org/ for more information.

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