News Details

UB brings Big Read programs to Bridgeport on October 16

Leslie Geary
Thursday, September 20, 2012

Big Read, the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA)-funded reading campaign held in cities and towns across America, will be held in Bridgeport this fall and is being co-hosted by the University of Bridgeport (UB) and other area institutions, UB officials announced today.

Referred to as “a book club on steroids,” Big Read encourages local organizers to select a book that can be read, discussed, and enjoyed in their respective communities. The NEA began the program in 1996 in response to surveys showing falling literacy rates in the U.S.

The book selected for Big Read in Bridgeport is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Bridgeport’s Big Read events €”including a 24-hour read-a-thon, live performances, and art exhibitions related to the book €”will run from October 16 to November 30.

An opening reception with screening of the movie Fahrenheit 451 directed by Francois Truffaut officially launches the Big Read on October 16 at the Bijou Theatre, 275 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport.

For more details of the opening and a full list of Bridgeport Big Read programs throughout October and November please go to www.neabigread.org and click the link, “Find a Participating Community.”

Edina Oestreicher, who is the Big Read program director at UB, called Fahrenheit 451 “a perfect book” for the Big Read.

Published in 1953 during the early years of McCarthyism, Fahrenheit 451 sounds a prescient and chilling warning of a future America, where books are outlawed, firemen burn down houses that contain them, and despairing individuals commit suicide by self-immolation. Written after Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), George Orwell’s 1984 (1949), and playwright Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1952), Fahrenheit 451 is often compared to the three because of its dystopian themes of censorship, scapegoating, individualism and society, and television’s poisonous affect on culture.

“There’s so much to talk about, to explore, debate, discuss. It captures so much about our contemporary society, such as reality television, social media, this 24/7 news feed,” Oestreicher said. “It’s a title that people have read for generations and its timelessness provides a great opportunity for readers of all ages and backgrounds to exchange their perspectives. We’re really excited to co-host the Big Read again this year, and I’m looking forward to a great month with a 24-hour read-a-thon, live performances, lectures, other Fahrenheit 451-related events.”

Bradbury died on June 6, 2012 at 91.

Some of UB’s co-hosts for the Big Read include Bridgeport Board of Education, Barnum Museum, Bridgeport Arts and Cultural Council, City Lights Gallery, Cox Media Group, Hearst Media Group, the Bridgeport Library, Downtown Special Services, The Klein, WPKN, and the Bijou Theatre, among others. The NEA awarded Bridgeport Big Read organizers at $15,000 grant to fund the month-long celebration.

The last Big Read program in Bridgeport was also co-sponsored by UB in the fall of 2010, when the community read The Maltese Falcon.


Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu