Columbia Receives NEA Grant for “Big Read” Initiative to Focus on Immigration

Through the grant, Columbia’s Library will engage a dialogue on the American immigrant experience with Edwidge Danticat’s novel "Brother, I’m Dying," with the author visiting in the spring.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $15,000 grant to the Columbia College Chicago Library for the 2019 NEA "Big Read," a national initiative designed to “broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Columbia Library’s "Big Read" selection is Brother, I’m Dying, the 2007 award-winning memoir by Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat. The book chronicles the intergenerational sacrifices immigrants often make to create a better life in America for their families.

The Columbia Library intends to use Big Read programs to engage audiences around Chicago in a dialogue about the immigrant experience, immigration policy, and the promise, opportunity, and challenge of living the American dream. The Columbia Library is partnering with the Haitian Congress, the Haitian Consulate General of Chicago, the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, the DuSable Heritage Association, the Midwest Association of Haitian American Women, the Haitian Nurses Association, the Haitian Book Club, Advanced Green Innovations, Digiworld, and Chicago area public libraries, public schools, and universities.

A kickoff event and keynote address with Danticat, “The American Dream Reconsidered,” will take place in Spring 2019 at Columbia’s Stage Two, 618 S. Michigan Ave.