Wichita Public Library has received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest for the 2024 Big Read Wichita, coming next spring. The selected book is “There There” by Tommy Orange.
This novel grapples with the complex history of Native Americans with an inheritance of profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse and suicide. It follows 12 characters, each with a private reason for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.
“Wichita is specifically influenced by its Native American and Indigenous origins, being named after the Wichita people,” said Savannah Ball, Education and Engagement Manager for Wichita Public Library. “While our city has many ties to the Native community, we have not yet chosen a Big Read book that explores this.”
While specific programming is not finalized, topics of exploration will include book discussions, and conversations about addiction, mental health, generational trauma and identities that marry both the past and the present.
“This year, we will explore Native American history, art, culture, and traditions, and provide an outlet to discuss the current lives of Native Americans in Wichita,” Ball said. “This book also covers a multitude of social issues that affect not only the Native community, but also community members who are not of Native descent.”
The 2024 NEA Big Read: Wichita will kick off March 16, 2024 and run through April 27, 2024. More information is available at bigreadwichita.org.