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Announcing the 2022-2023 NEA Big Read Grantees

Students and adults are posing for the camera, and holding up homemade books, some with artwork inside.
Photo Credit: Marci Cancio
Visual artist Nereida García Ferraz and writer Mia Leonin lead a bookmaking workshop.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with Arts Midwest, is announcing support for 62 nonprofit organizations to hold NEA Big Read programming in 2022-2023.

In total, the NEA is investing $1,071,140 to support programming centered around one of 15 different contemporary books, with the aim of inspiring meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in participating communities.

“It is inspiring to see how NEA Big Read grantees utilize these books as launchpads for their own programming, often creating opportunities for community conversations, new partnerships, and encouraging participants to incorporate art into their daily lives,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“All across America, in communities small and large, the NEA Big Read connects neighbors and inspires creativity,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We’re excited to support this year’s grantees as they bring the pages of these wonderful books to life through inventive programming.”

2022-2023 NEA Big Read Grantees

Each NEA Big Read grantee is receiving a matching grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to support programming around one of 15 contemporary books, 12 of which are new for the 2022-2023 NEA Big Read.

Examples of 2022-2023 grantee programming include:

Cover of novel There There by Tommy Orange

Arts Connection

San Bernardino, California

Arts Connection’s (San Bernardino, California) programming around Tommy Orange’s There, There will include guided tours hosted by the Native American Land Conservancy of the Oasis of Maará, first settled by the Serrano people and later the Chemehuevi. Cultural resource tribal representatives will share the historical significance of the site and discuss its present-day and continued vibrancy and relevance.

Cover of novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Delta State University

Delta State University’s (Cleveland, Mississippi) programming around Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing will include a scheduled presentation by culinary historian Adrian Miller about Black culinary history and a conversation about the culinary traditions, knowledge, and goods enslaved Africans brought to the United States and their rich culinary contributions.


Cover of novel Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University’s (Willimantic, Connecticut) programming around Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown will include an online virtual exhibition with creative responses (visual arts, graphic design, new media, and literary texts) to the book’s study of stereotypes.




Cover of poetry collection Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

Maryland Public Television

Maryland Public Television’s (Owings Mills, Maryland) programming around Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, will hold a ten-day challenge of gratitude. Participants will be encouraged to reflect and look for elements of challenging experiences that will help them experience gratitude.




Cover of memoir Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

Quincy Public Library

Quincy Public Library’s (Quincy, Illinois) programming around Rebekah Taussig’s Sitting Pretty will include events for patrons to learn more about and participate in adaptive sports and learn conversational/basic American Sign Language. Library programming will be adapted to meet a wider range of our communities’ needs through sensory-friendly story times and resource kits to provide additional support to community members who would like to experience the library and the NEA Big Read.

Cover of memoir "Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chast

Wichita Public Library Foundation

Wichita Public Library Foundation (Wichita, Kansas) will kick off its programming around Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? with a community event featuring a photo slideshow, The Beauty of Aging, with images submitted by community members depicting their family and friends in the later stages of life.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a partnership with Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,700 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $24 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 16 years, grantees have leveraged more than $56 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 97,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible.

Visit the NEA Big Read website for more information. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s website for more information.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit the NEA website to learn more.

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates Midwestern creativity. We build community and opportunity across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond. As one of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest works to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders, and many others. For more information, visit the Arts Midwest website.