2016 Big Read Program in LA
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest.
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) marks its eighth year of programming The Big Read with the 2016 selection of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a novel about firefighter Guy Montag who lives in a lonely, isolated society where books have been outlawed by the government.
Ray Bradbury is celebrated as one Los Angeles’ most prolific and creative writers. Inspired at the circus by Mr. Electrico at age 13, his creative career blossomed in the City, beginning with his years as a student at Los Angeles High School, through his adult years when he sold newspapers on LA street corners, studied at the public library at nights, spent days writing at typewriters. He was honored with a Public Square after his death in 2012 for his life-long patronage and support of the Los Angeles Public Library. Fahrenheit 451 touches upon ideas that have endured since its original publication in 1953, including the intentional loss of books, the value of entertainment over education, and censorship.
DCA’s 2016 Big Read Program in LA consists of a series of free activities through June 2016, and is presented by DCA in partnership with community and cultural organizations that have deep ties to Angelenos of every age. The Big Read is a dynamic and experiential portal to Los Angeles through literature and poetry. The public is welcome to participate in the 2016 Big Read Program in LA and to enjoy the many activities offered by DCA and our community partners, including a civic ceremony at the historic Los Angeles City Hall, read-a-thons, art exhibitions, live performances, film screenings, festivals, music and dance, food lectures and tastings, gardening, visits to cultural landmarks, book groups, discussion panels, living history, and tours.
The Big Read Program in LA invites you to celebrate the work of Ray Bradbury and explore Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Poet Laureate
The Big Read Program in LA features the special engagement of Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis Rodriguez. The Poet Laureate is a two-year term as an official ambassador of L.A.’s vibrant creative scene, promoting the city’s rich literary community and celebrating the written word. During his two-year term, Mr. Rodriguez composes poems to the city, hosts live readings, leads classes and workshops at public library branches, and serves as one of the city’s cultural ambassadors.
Luis Rodriguez was chosen to be Poet Laureate by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014. His poetry book, My Nature is Hunger, won the 2005 Paterson Book Award. His 1993 memoir Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA, with close to half a million copies sold, became one of L.A.’s most checked out in libraries—and one of the most stolen. He has a dozen other books in poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction. He is also founding editor of the small press, Tia Chucha Press, now in its 25th year, and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. His latest book is It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award.
This spring 2016, Rodriguez introduces a new Tia Chucha Press anthology, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles. Coiled Serpent is a highly anticipated anthology featuring well-known Los Angeles poets.
Together The Big Read Program in LA and the Los Angeles Poet Laureate offer Angelenos a truly unique and insightful experience of literature and poetry. By engaging directly with youth and adults across Los Angeles, Luis Rodriguez brings his master voice and powerful narrative, among the most dynamic writing today. Be sure to mark your calendars in advance for this year’s Big Read events with Luis Rodriguez. They are sure to fill up early.
This list of programs is based on information available at time of publication.
All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.
For more information about DCA’s 2016 Big Read Program in LA, please visit: DCA’s website at: culturela.org, or call 213.202.5567.
For more information about the Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, please call 213.202.5567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about The Big Read, please visit: neabigread.org.