The Big Read, a community-wide celebration of reading, will kick off months of events at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the Tarrant Area Food Bank, 2600 Cullen St. Windell Middlebrooks, a Trimble Tech High School alumnus and television actor, will be the emcee. He stars on ABC’s Body of Proof and is best known for his role as the Miller High Life delivery man on commercials.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach will be among the speakers. The event will conclude with a group reading of an excerpt from The Grapes of Wrath.
Last summer, Texas Wesleyan University was awarded an $11,700 grant to participate in The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Texas Wesleyan is one of four grant recipients in Texas.
The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature. In Fort Worth and Tarrant County, the book that will be spotlighted throughout The Big Read is John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a classic novel about the Great Depression. The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
Texas Wesleyan’s community partners are the Fort Worth Public Library, City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth Independent School District, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Friends of the Fort Worth Library, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, The Reading Connection, Stage West Allied Theater Group, Dallas Model A Club, and Barnes & Noble. Other partners include area high schools and media outlets.
Events will continue until late May – both on the Texas Wesleyan University campus and around town. Book discussions, food drives, speakers, and play adaption of The Grapes of Wrath are among the planned events.