Big Read 2008 Features The Grapes of Wrath

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Big Read 2008 Features The Grapes of Wrath

Posted: 09/23/2008
YWCA Knoxville and Knox County Public Library are pleased to bring The Big Read back to Knox County for a second year, this time featuring John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The largest reading program in American history, The Big Read is a community-wide dialogue designed to encourage reluctant readers to experience a literary classic and to explore racial and social justice issues in the region.

The Big Read will launch on Wednesday, October 1 at 12 p.m., at downtown's Market Square with comments by Mayor Bill Haslam, Library Director Larry Frank, and YWCA Executive Director, Marigail Mullin; music by Guy, Candie, and Evan Carawan; and a performance by Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble. As part of the celebration, free copies of the book will be handed out to the first 75 readers.

The launch kicks off a month-long series involving 28 events and 32 community partners. The public is encouraged to join in by reading The Grapes of Wrath and participating in the events. A full schedule of events is available at

This year, the program has been expanded throughout the region to include activities in Anderson and Blount Counties. Through encouraging neighbors to sit down with the same American classic, The Big Read provides an opportunity to share unique perspectives regardless of age, gender, race or other limiting factors.

With the recent news of the largest governmental bail out since The Great Depression, this novel is particularly timely. Federal Treasury Chairman Henry Paulson presented options to Congress using the Great Depression as a benchmark. Steinbeck's novel chronicles the plight of a working farm family caught without a safety net during that era.