Spearfish is reading Station Eleven in 2019
The Matthews is a recipient of a grant of $13,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Spearfish, SD. We are one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant. The NEA Big Read in Spearfish will focus on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Activities will take place January 12 through March 30, 2019.
Along with The Matthews, Grace Balloch Memorial Library, and the Black Hill State University School of Arts and Humanities are project partners offering many Big Read events from January through March 2019.
Station Eleven Overview
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. It’s been translated into 27 languages.
“Survival is insufficient,” a line from Star Trek: Voyager, is the Traveling Symphony’s motto.
“Equal parts page-turner and poem” (Entertainment Weekly), the novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band’s existence. “Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read” (The Independent London). “Think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion … Magnetic” (Kirkus starred). “It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment” (The New Yorker). “I kept putting the book down, looking around me, and thinking, ‘Everything is a miracle'” (National Public Radio).
About the Author
“I’ve always been interested in writing about memory, and in what it means to live honorably in a damaged world.” — Emily St. John Mandel in an interview with the National Book Foundation
Emily St. John Mandel (her middle name, St. John, was her grandmother’s surname) was born on Vancouver Island and raised mostly on Denman Island, an island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Mandel’s father emigrated from the U.S. and worked on the island as a plumber; her Canadian mother works for an organization that assists victims of domestic violence and is active in the labor movement. Both loved to read and for no reason other than to provide the best education they could, they homeschooled Mandel, encouraging her to write every day. “Although I grew up in a very working-class household, there was a tremendous emphasis on books,” she told the Columbia Daily Tribune. “We had a lot of books in the house and went to the library all the time… I read voraciously.” Like many teenagers (…read more)
This is the 3rd Big Read grant awarded to The Matthews
“We are thrilled to receive our third Big Read grant. The first in 2014 revolved around the Jhumpa Lahiri novel, The Namesake. The second Big Read in 2016 was The Maltese Falcon. Both were very successful,” says Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews. “Station Eleven will reach audiences of all ages. Our previous Big Read programming experiences have opened up even more event ideas to engage our book audiences. We are beyond excited to introduce the event list in upcoming weeks,“ Young continues.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for communities across the nation, both small and large, to take part in the NEA Big Read,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “This program encourages people to not only discuss a book together, but be introduced to new perspectives, discuss the issues at the forefront of our own lives, and connect with one another at events.”
The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $44 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 82,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit arts.gov/neabigread.
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.