The Big Read Comes to Dallas in April 2013

Fahrenheit 451A few months ago, in January, Christine Allison and I were talking about a report she heard on NPR–something about the city of Tucson reading Emily Dickinson’s collected poetry for a month. She was intrigued. I was intrigued. And that’s when we stumbled across The Big Read, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s basically a monthlong, community-wide program that celebrates one book. We looked through the site and realized that it would be an astounding experience for Dallas. We also realized we couldn’t apply for the grant (we’re neither a nonprofit nor a library), so began a frantic search for the right partner–frantic, because the deadline for the grant submission was in two weeks. In other words, we would need a partner who was not only a spacious thinker, but willful enough to try for the impossible.

When we met the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, we knew we had our match. Their executive director, Kate Park, was instrumental in producing the proposal and choosing our book, which is Fahrenheit 451, written by the late Ray Bradbury. Next year will be the book’s 60th anniversary. Its themes of courage, censorship, and free access to information are near and dear to both our organizations. (Fun fact: Mike Mooney loves the book. He can recite the first few lines.) Park sent off the grant, and we all crossed our fingers.

Well, today, we can officially announce that The Big Read is coming to Dallas in April 2013. We’re very excited to be a part of it. The main group behind it will be D Academy, a leadership development program underwritten by D Magazine.

We have a lot of work in front of us. But we’re all looking forward to April 2013. I hope you are, too.


  • chris chris

    Congratulations. Sounds cool. Can I dress up as a fireman?

  • Bibliophile

    Richardson has successfully run a program like this for several years–the Richardson Reads One Book program, which includes multiple events leading up to a lecture given by the author at Richardson High School.

  • We are thrilled to partner with D Academy! Going to be amazing!

    “Quick with the kerosene! Who’s got a match!”
    ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  • Krista — the Office of Cultural Affairs / Latino Cultural Center received this grant in 2008 — the book selected then was “Bless Me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya. It’s a great program and we’re thrilled to see it come back to Dallas.

  • Michelle Saunders

    I absolutely cannot wait! I’m especially excited to read the book with my 13 year old brother…it will be his first time to read it and it will give us something in common to discuss (big sis is no longer cool, but this book may help change that!).

  • @Bibliophile: Thanks for pointing out Richardson’s program. Irving has received the grant from the NEA and has been doing it for a few years as well. And, as Maria pointed out, it was done here four years ago. So templates for these programs exist. We’re definitely keeping notes on what other programs have done and what works and what doesn’t.
    @Chris Chris: Of course!

  • First few lines? Mike will need to learn more if he wants to join the camp. This is exciting, glad to hear about it. Well done getting it together.