The Big Read


NEA Big Read, the community-wide reading initiative returns to Coastal Georgia in 2019 with Celeste Ng's award winning novel, Everything I Never Told You.

In a small town in Ohio in 1977, the oldest daughter and favorite child of a biracial couple — her mother is white, her father is Chinese-American — is found drowned in a lake. As her parents and siblings struggle to solve the mystery of her death, a web of family secrets emerge to reveal how fragile the relationships between husband and wife, parent and child, and brother and sister can be when ambitions are thwarted, societal pressures mount, and fears and desires are kept buried. Celeste Ng's debut novel Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press, 2014) alternates between past and present and is told from the various perspectives of each grieving member of the family, all of whom come to realize in their own way how little they knew about the people they thought they knew best.

In conjunction with this year's Big Read selection, the Middle and Little Big Reads return with companion books for young and middle grade readers. The Middle Big Read selection is Wonder by R.J. Palacio and for The Little Big Read selection is Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth. Free copies of all three selected books will be distributed to schools in Glynn, Camden and McIntosh counties and to the public while supplies last.

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Locally the program is coordinated by Golden isles Arts & Humanities and its partners, The College of Coastal Georgia, Marshes of Glynn Library System, Three Rivers Regional Library System with additional support is provided by The Literary Guild of St Simons Island, Brunswick News Publishing, iHeartRadio, and hello/Goodbuy.

The NEA Big Read will officially kick off on February 1st during the First Friday festivities in downtown Brunswick. A Cultural Tasting will be the theme of the evening and patrons can visit a variety of locations to find out about many of the different cultures that make up our community. The Art of the World/Art of My World and Inspired by Zen Shorts exhibits will open at the Ritz Theatre featuring work by elementary, middle and high school students.

The weeks that follow will include discussions, performances, films, art exhibits and school programs that are designed to get everyone in the community reading, discussing and thinking about Everything I Never Told You and to celebrate and showcase our differences and hopefully allow those things not said, to be said. Most activities are free and all are open to the public. A complete Big Read calendar will be available on

Some of the highlighted events include:
Keynote Address: Storyteller Regi Carpenter talks on "A Heart so Tender." Family is at the center of our Big Read novel and family is at the center of storyteller Regi Carpenter's talk filled with insight and humor. Free and open to the public at the Historic Ritz Theatre 1530 Newcastle Street, Bwk. 912.262.6934 for info or

Three Film Series: Dysfunctional Families features Grey Gardens, The Celebration, and the Cinema Gourmet feature Tokyo Story; Chinese Films include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Raise the Red Lantern and Films About Race include Loving, and Get Out. Films will be screened at the Historic Ritz Theatre, Casino Theatre and regional libraries.

Staged Readings of A Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne PArk
February 21-23, 2019
Historic Ritz Theatre
Local performers read Lorraine Hansberry's ground-breaking 1959 play about an African-American family trying to move to the white suburbs and the 2010 play by Bruce Norris that depicts the white family that sold them their house in the first act and the second act takes place 50 years later.