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City Announces the 2015 Wichita Big Read Book

Contact: Stephanie Huff, Wichita Public Library |
City of Wichita and Wichita Public Library officials on Thursday announced that Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea is the 2015 Wichita Big Read book selection. In its 8th consecutive year hosting the Big Read, Wichita is receiving the maximum grant award possible - $20,000 - for participating cities.

Vice Mayor James Clendenin made the announcement at a morning news conference at City Hall, 455 N. Main: "Wichita is proud to continue hosting the Big Read program,” Clendenin said. “Only a handful of other cities have hosted the event as consistently as we have. This speaks to the high level of community involvement among our citizens and the great work of our Library in hosting such entertaining and educational programs.”

The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment of the Arts, is an annual event hosted by cities across the country that encourages citizens to read the same book and participate in literary and art events throughout the fall. 

Into the Beautiful North, written in 2009, centers around a 19-year-old woman struggling to protect her small town from being taken over by banditos. It follows her journey to the U.S. as she seeks seven men to help in her quest. Age appropriate companion titles have been selected for children and young adults in order to make the Big Read Wichita an event for all ages.

“This year’s selection of Into the Beautiful North is an exciting choice,” said Director of Libraries Cynthia Berner. “This is a modern story with contemporary themes, including the drive to improve one’s own community. Plus, it gives us the opportunity to host exciting and diverse activities with our Big Read partners including an event with the author himself.”

The Wichita Public Library and participating partners will host events related to the book’s theme. From music to food to a scavenger hunt for children, more than a dozen events will occur throughout Wichita. While the official Big Read is October 1st through November 15th, the special kick-off event is Saturday, Sept 19th at the Wichita Art Museum. Mayor Jeff Longwell is the honorary co-chair to this year’s Big Read. 

For a complete listing on the Big Read, please visit Readers are invited to join the conversation on Twitter using #BigReadICT. ​​

Wichita Public Library provides collections and services that inform, entertain and enrich the quality of life in
Wichita. For more information, please visit

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, please visit the NEA at

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