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ASU gets $16,000 NEA grant

Dr. James Hill

Dr. James Hill

ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University is the recipient of a $16,000 grant to host “The Big Read” in Albany-Dougherty County. The program, organized by the National Endowment for the Arts, is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

ASU’s activities will take place Feb. 3-March 3 and focus on the work of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, author of “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

The university is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive funding to host the yearlong nationwide project.

“We at Albany State University are delighted to receive our second Big Read grant, and with the Dougherty County Public Library as our partner will once again seek to engage the Albany-Dougherty County community in this literacy effort,” said project director James L. Hill, chairman of the ASU Department of English, Modern Languages and Mass Communication. ASU received its first Big Read grant in 2009.

“It’s wonderful to see that 77 communities are making reading and the celebration of books a priority,” NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said. “I look forward to seeing the innovative ways they find to engage their communities in great works of classic and contemporary literature.”

The Big Read provides communities with the opportunity to read, discuss and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. The grants fund and promote activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings and performing arts events.

Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including reader’s, teacher’s and audio guides, which also are available for download on neabigread.org.