Barter Theatre is partnering with the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon, Va. to present a series of events featuring Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as part of the annual Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read aims to address this issue directly by providing citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities.
The Big Read of Washington County will take place from February through April. It will focus on the isolated populations of Appalachia, including teenagers, the deaf community, and those with mental health issues. The program includes a theatrical production, public readings, writing activities, book discussions, a film series, school activities, and much more. Admission to events is free, unless noted otherwise.
About the Book and Its Author
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia says, "A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us. It is hard to believe that The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was the first book of a 23-year-old author who had started the novel at age 19. This tragic, small-town drama is so ambitious in its scope -- presenting five radically different characters whose troubled lives intersect in the Depression-era South -- it always seems like the work of a master storyteller."
McCullers (born Lula Carson Smith) was born in Georgia, twice-married to the same man, and was often in poor health. Wunderkind was her first published story. Her novels include Reflections in a Golden Eye and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, both made into films. She also wrote several plays.
-- BIG READ EVENTS
See Next Month's Edition of A! Magazine for "Big Read" Events in March or visit www.BarterTheatre.com.