Thanks to a $17,050 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Trinity and the Hartford Public Library (HPL) are partnering to promote a month-long series of events associated with the Big Read, a program created by the NEA to revitalize the role of literary reading in American culture.
Under the program, which began in 2006 as a pilot project in 10 communities and a year later expanded nationally, the NEA supplies educational and promotional materials, such as readers’ and audio guides, bookmarks, posters and banners.
This marks the fifth year that the HPL is participating and Trinity’s first year as a major programming partner.
Of the 31 proposed titles, the book that was selected in the Greater Hartford Region is Sun, Stone, and Shadows, a collection of 20 Mexican short stories edited by Jorge F. Hernandez.
The book marks a departure from other years, when programs and communal discussions were built around classic American novels. Sun, Stone, and Shadows is an anthology written by 10 of Mexico’s finest contemporary authors.
Of the book, former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, “Its stories, selected with U.S. readers in mind, represent a remarkable array of Mexico’s rich and vibrant literary history. Sun, Stone, and Shadows is a catalyst for cultural understanding and conversation between the people of Mexico and the United States.”
Lucy Ferriss, Trinity’s Writer-in-Residence, said a group of students helped cull through all of the suggested books and selected Sun, Stone, and Shadows for two major reasons: It is available in both English and Spanish and it relates particularly well to Hartford community, which has a large Latino population.
Events in the Greater Hartford Region will be held the last week of March and throughout April, with the centerpiece being the Big Read Celebration on Monday, April 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Trinity. President James F. Jones, Jr. will speak, followed by Gioia’s keynote address, performances by Trinity students and other community partners, and the unveiling of a mural. Mexican food will be served.
Other events involving Trinity include the College’s leadership of reading groups and workshops with community partners during the week of March 28; arts activities and the painting of a mural on the outside wall of the Broad Street Gallery with Mexican artist Marela Zacarias between April 1 and April 11; a poetry reading by Monica de La Torre on April 6; the screening of “Pedro Paramo” as part of a Latin and Iberian film series on April 13; a panel of Mexican writers (including Martin Solares, Yuri Herrera and Monica de la Torre) on April18; and performances in conjunction with the Greater Academy of the Arts, ConnectiKids and Hartford Magnet Middle School from April 11 through April 30.
In addition to HPL and Trinity, program partners include the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center; Hartford Stage; and the Mark Twain House & Museum. Trinity’s partners include the Trinity Boys & Girls Club, ConnectiKids, the Hartford Magnet Middle School, Trinfo.Cafe, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts, York Correctional Institution for Women and the Charter Oak Cultural Center.
All events are free and open to the public.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.
For a complete list of programs, please visit: www.hplct.org/bigread, or www.thebigread.trinfocafe.org.