September 23, 2008 -
YWCA Knoxville and Knox County Public Library are pleased to
bring The Big Read back to Knox County for a second year, this time
featuring John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. The largest reading program in
American history, The Big Read is a community-wide dialogue designed to
encourage reluctant readers to experience a literary classic and to explore racial and
social justice issues in the region.
The Big Read will launch on Wednesday, October 1 at 12 p.m., at downtown’s
Market Square with comments by Mayor Bill Haslam, Library Director Larry
Frank, and YWCA Executive Director, Marigail Mullin; music by Guy, Candie,
and Evan Carawan; and a performance by Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble.
As part of the celebration, free copies of the book will be handed out to
the first 75 readers.
The launch kicks off a month-long series involving 28 events and 32 community
partners. The public is encouraged to join in by reading The Grapes of Wrath
and participating in the events. A full schedule of events is available at www.knoxlib.org.
This year, the program has been expanded throughout the region to include
activities in Anderson and Blount Counties. Through encouraging neighbors to
sit down with the same American classic, The Big Read provides an
opportunity to share unique perspectives regardless of age, gender, race or
other limiting factors.
With the recent news of the largest governmental bail out since The Great
Depression, this novel is particularly timely. Federal Treasury Chairman
Henry Paulson presented options to Congress using the Great Depression
as a benchmark. Steinbeck’s novel chronicles the plight of a working farm family
caught without a safety net during that era.