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NEA Big Read: Wichita Kicks Off March 12

Contact: Sean Jones |

​Wichita Public Library and community partners will kick off the 2023 NEA Big Read: Wichita at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 12 at the Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. 2nd St.

This year’s book is Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through cartoons, family photos and humorous narrative, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

The Kickoff Party will be emceed by former KAKE News anchor Susan Peters and will feature a ballet performance, reader’s theater and an art talk by local cartoonist Richard Crowson. Attendees will receive a free copy of the book while supplies last.

Author Roz Chast will give a keynote at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 15 at the Wichita State University Hughes Metroplex, 5015 E. 29th St. N. She will share her work as a cartoonist and discuss her work as an author.

Dozens of programs and events will take place from March 12-April 30, 2023 that will help participants gain a deeper understanding of the book’s characters and themes:

  • A mini film festival co-sponsored by Wichita State University and Tallgrass Film Association featuring films about elder care and aging.
  • A series of programs offered by the Central Area Agency on Aging covering various topics like social interactions for older adults, frauds and aging well.
  • A program with Heart Land Prairie Cemetery about natural burials.

The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest granted the Library a $20,000 grant to host this year’s Big Read. This is the 15th year of this program in Wichita. The Big Read brings together schools, libraries, cultural organizations, businesses and book clubs to celebrate literacy and learning through a common book.
More information is available at

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