Eugene Public Library has received a grant of $16,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host "The Big Read" in March 2014. Eugene Public Library is one of 77 not-for-profits nationwide to receive a grant to host a Big Read project in the coming year.
The Big Read in Eugene/Springfield will focus on the novel "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Community members will be encouraged to read the book and participate in a range of community events now being planned for March 2014.
Eugene Public Library's major partners in The Big Read are Springfield Public Library; local schools; and Oregon Contemporary Theater, which will present the play “The Great Gatsby” adapted for the stage by Simon Levy. In 2012, the same partners collaborated on a Eugene/Springfield Big Read of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”
“The Great Gatsby” may be the most popular classic in modern American fiction. Since its publication in 1925, Fitzgerald's masterpiece has become a touchstone for generations of readers and writers. The story of Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love reverberates with themes at once characteristically American and universally human, among them the importance of honesty, the temptations of wealth, and the struggle to escape the past. Though “The Great Gatsby” runs fewer than 200 pages, there is no bigger read in American literature.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based activities and events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials specific to each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides, which also are available for download at http://www.neabigread.org/books/greatgatsby.