UNCW, Community Partners to Kick Off NEA Big Read

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

To promote a community-wide shared reading experience, UNCW’s Office of the Arts will launch the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read: Cape Fear program at a kick-off event on Nov. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the New Hanover County Public Library Main Branch in downtown Wilmington. The featured NEA Big Read book title for 2022-23 is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Following light refreshments, there will be a brief introduction to library resources, a book discussion of Homegoing and an in-depth workshop led by author Tim Pinnick to explore African American genealogy. Homegoing chronicles the different paths of two half-sisters born in eighteenth century Ghana through eight generations. 

“African American communities across the country can and should become more proactive in collecting, sharing and preserving their stories,” said Pinnick. “Documenting the genealogy of the community is vital to creating a rich and powerful narrative from the perspective of our ancestors who lived it.”
Younger readers can also participate in the NEA Big Read: Cape Fear by reading companion titles such as Crow by Barbara Wright and The Year We Learned to Fly by Jaquelyn Woodson. Visit the UNCW Randall Library website for a complete list of companion titles for readers of all ages, including Cape Fear Rising! by UNCW faculty member Philip Gerard.

The Cape Fear region is one of 62 communities nationwide participating in the NEA Big Read. A variety of related public and private events are planned through April 2023. For example, D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a K-8 year-round public school that was opened by UNCW, will be hosting Wright on Nov. 3 to lead interactive book discussions with fourth, fifth and sixth grade students about history, writing and the power of fiction. The sixth graders will receive signed copies of Crow, a work of historical fiction that explores the Wilmington, NC, events of 1898 through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy who is one generation removed from slavery.

Gerard will visit the Pender County Library for an author visit on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. to discuss Cape Fear Rising!, another work of historical fiction based on actual events in Wilmington at the turn of the century.  
On Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:30 p.m., Kenan Auditorium Presents will feature “One Noble Journey: A Mike Wiley Production,” a one-man play that chronicles multiple stories of escape by characters born into slavery. 
To register for the NEA Big Read: Cape Fear kick-off event, visit the New Hanover County Library website. To see the full calendar of related events, visit the UNCW Office of the Arts NEA Big Read: Cape Fear website. 
The NEA Big Read: Cape Fear is presented in partnership with UNCW Office of the Arts, UNCW Randall Library, Arts Council of Wilmington & New Hanover County, Brunswick Arts Council, Brunswick County Library, Cameron Art Museum, Cape Fear Community College, Cape Fear Literacy Council, Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, DC Virgo Preparatory Academy, Good Shepherd Center, New Hanover County Public Library, New Hanover County Schools, Pender County Library, and the Wilmington African American Community Remembrance Project, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
-- Krissy Vick