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THE BIG READ

Alejandro Zambra's Ways of Going Home begins with an earthquake, seen through the eyes of an unnamed nine-year-old boy who lives in an undistinguished middle-class housing development in a suburb of Santiago, Chile. When the neighbors camp out overnight, the protagonist gets his first glimpse of Claudia, an older girl who asks him to spy on her uncle Raúl.

In the second section, the protagonist is the writer of the story begun in the first section. His father is a man of few words who claims to be apolitical but who quietly sympathized―to what degree, the author isn't sure―with the Pinochet regime. His reflections on the progress of the novel and on his own life―which is strikingly similar to the life of his novel's protagonist―expose the raw suture of fiction and reality.

Ways of Going Home switches between author and character, past and present, reflecting with melancholy and rage on the history of a nation and on a generation born too late―the generation which, as the author-narrator puts it, learned to read and write while their parents became accomplices or victims. It is the most personal novel to date from Zambra, the most important Chilean author since Roberto Bolaño.

Marcela Valdes, The Nation

The Bronx Council on the Arts will host a series of book discussions, performances and special presentations throughout the Bronx for this year’s NEA Big Read, featuring performers, dancers, authors and poets. All events are open to the public. Books will be provided.
Friday  |  February 2  |  6:00-8:00pm

Big Read Kickoff and discussion/reading/book giveaway

With poet Edgar Cabrera

Poet and Bronx Memoir Project contributor Edgar Cabrera will host a combined reading and book discussion at Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos to get things started. He’ll be joined by Bronx Writers Center director Charlie Vazquez, as well as members of the Bronx Fiction Writers Group. Copies of the book will be made available. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos

450 Grand Concourse

Bronx, NY 10451

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Friday  | February 9  |  6:00-8:00pm

Book Discussion

With author Tim Brown

Author Tim Brown is the author of four novels and will host a combined reading and book discussion with the Bronx Fiction Writers Group at Bronx Library Center. He’ll be joined by Bronx Writers Center director Charlie Vazquez. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

Bronx Library Center

310 E Kingsbridge Rd

Bronx, NY 10458

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Tuesday |  February 13  |  6:30-8:00pm

Readings and book discussion

With Sydney Valerio

Poet and performer Sydney Valerio will lead a combined book discussion and performance collaboration with Cirque Du Vie, The Point’s teen and youth performance program for young people ages 13 and up. Participants will improvise movement-based reactions to selected texts. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

The Point

940 Garrison Ave

Bronx, NY 10474

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Thursday |  February 15  |  6:30-8:00pm

Readings and book discussion

With poet Natalie Caro

Poet Natalie Caro will lead a combined book discussion and performance reading collaboration with Cirque Du Vie, The Point’s teen and youth performance program for young people ages 13 and up. Participants will improvise movement-based reactions to selected texts. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants.

Location:

The Point

940 Garrison Ave

Bronx, NY 10474

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

Thursday  |  February 22  |  6:30-8:00pm

Jasmine Hearn Dance performance

With Charlie Vazquez

Dancer Jasmine Hearn will perform “thot”, which she describes as “A solo that sits in darkness. Using acquired memories of lyric and song from car rides to middle school with her sister, she’ll listen to shadow, velvet and her own forgetting.” Poet and BRIO winner Peggy Robles-Alvarado will read and perform selected passages from “Ways of Going Home”, what will end with a book discussion. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

2474 Westchester Ave

Bronx, NY 10461

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Friday |  February 23  |  6:00-8:00pm

Readings and book discussion

With author Ted Mieszczanski

Ted Mieszczanski is the author of the Growing Up Bx, Tevye’s Story Star Crossed Series and will be hosting a combined reading and book discussion with the Bronx Fiction Writers Group. He’ll be joined by Bronx Writers Center director Charlie Vazquez. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

Location:

Bronx Library Center

310 E Kingsbridge Rd

Bronx, NY 10451

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Wednesday  |  February 28th  |  5:00-7:00pm

Readings and book discussion

With poet J.F. Seary

Poet J.F. Seary will host a combined reading and book discussion at the Morris Park NYPL. A Nuyorican poet and educator, she’s performed all over the world. She’ll be joined by Bronx Writers Center director Charlie Vazquez. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

Morris Park NYPL

985 Morris Park Ave

Bronx, NY 10462

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
 
Friday  |  March 2  |  6:00-8:00pm

Readings and book discussion

With Charlie Vazquez

Bronx Writers Center Director Charlie Vazquez is the author of 3 novels and dozens of short stories. He’ll be hosting a book discussion with the Bronx Fiction Writers Group at Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos

450 Grand Concourse, Rm C-190

Bronx, NY 10451

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Tuesday  |  March 6  |  6:00-8:00pm

Performance readings and book discussion

with Charlie Vázquez

Teen participants of The Point’s Cirque Du Vie social circus program will read from selected sections of Ways of Going Home. They’ll also improvise performance-based reactions to the texts. They’ll be joined by Bronx Writers Center Director Charlie Vazquez who will lead a book discussion. Copies of the book will be made available to all participants. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

The Point

940 Garrison Ave

Bronx, NY 10474

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 
Thursday  |  March 15  |  7:00-8:30pm

Keynote and book discussion

With poet Bonafide Rojas and Michael Kamber

Poet Bonafide Rojas will share some of his poems and will host a book discussion with participants. He’s the author of four collections of poetry and has performed all over the world. Michael Kamber is the founder of the Bronx Documentary Center. His closing keynote presentation will explore BDC’s history of providing free education programs for middle and high school students, as well as serving historically underrepresented adult photographers in the Bronx. Copies of the book will be made available. Free and open to the public.

 

Location:

Bronx Documentary Center

614 Courtlandt Ave

Bronx, NY 10451

 

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

 

 

The Bronx Writers Center, a program of Bronx Council on the Arts, and is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York Council for the Humanities; the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; the Bronx Delegation of the NYC Council - including Council Member James Vacca, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and Council Member Andrew Cohen and New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.


 

Questions? Contact Charlie at 718-931/9500 x21 or Charlie@bronxarts.org.


About The Big Read

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts that encourages literacy and reading culture in local communities.

The inaugural Big Read in the Bronx was held in March and April of 2008, with a celebration of the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

More than 1,200 free books were distributed, many to individuals who had never owned a book before.

Previous Key Partners were The New York Yankees Foundation, The New York Times, Barnes & Noble and Hostos Community College of the City University of New York..


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