The Big Read 2017

our-town-coverThe Friends of the Homer Public Library is excited to present our 3rd Homer Big Read! This year, the focus of our community read will be Thorton Wilder’s books The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town. Together we will examine the themes of the books, including how communities and individuals make sense of tragedy, what it means to make a life in a small town, how to seize the day, and the continued importance of reading and literature in a well-examined life.   The theme from Our Town of what it means for an individual to live out his or her life in a small town is especially pertinent, and will encourage participants to reflect on what it means to have made their own lives in our small town.

And similar the small community The Bridge of San Luis Rey is situated in, we are geographically unique: we are a place many travelers pass through, yet we are somewhat isolated and rugged. In our community it is not uncommon for extreme winter weather to become mythic in its impact, washing out roads, limiting accessibility and communications, and endangering human lives. Like the main character Brother Juniper, we question why disasters happen and struggle to make sense of our limited control in a sometimes capricious environment.

bridge-of-san-luis-coverSo come join us as we come together as a community to enjoy the shared experience of reading two good books!

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. In addition, we are proud to collaborate with Homer Council on the Arts, KBBI, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Pier One Theatre, Homer High School, The Pratt Museum, Alice’s Champagne Palace, The Homer Bookstore, and Kachemak Bay Campus. Want to get involved? Call 235-3180.


Big Read Kick-Off: Let’s get the Big Read started with a staged Reading of Our Town by Pier One Theatre at Alice’s Champagne Palace. Copies of Our Town & The Bridge of San Luis Rey will be available for check-out! Saturday, January 14, 6:00 pm.

 Book Club @ the Homer Public Library: The Homer Public Library offers a regular monthly book club the last Tuesday of every month. In January they will discuss The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Tuesday, January 24, 4:30 pm.

Love Letters in the Snow, Creative Writing Workshop with Erin Hollowell: Dona Marie in The Bridge of San Luis Rey struggles with writing love letters to her daughter that resonate rather than irritate. The literature of love has a long history. From the very beginning, we’ve used words to woo those we desire. In this short workshop, we’ll read some examples throughout history and learn how to craft love letters that speak effectively of love. We’ll explore ways to write truthfully without sentimentality. We’ll talk metaphor, detail and tone. You’ll leave with a love letter or poem of your own for your sweetheart or perhaps to win the one you’ve admired from afar. Please sign up in advance @ The Homer Public Library.Tuesday, January 24, 6:00-8:00 pm, Kachemak Bay Campus.

 Faith, Love, & Loss: A panel Discussion on The Bridge of San Luis Rey:  Moderated by Lia Calhoun, Assistant Professor of Literature and Communications at Kachemak Bay Campus, this panel discussion will look at the themes of The Bridge of San Luis Rey through multiple lenses. Panelists include University of Alaska Anchorage Professor of English Toby Widdicombe, researcher Linda Chamberlain who specializes in the impact of trauma on the brain, Kathy Carssow MS LPA, as well as Reverend Lisa Talbott from The Homer Methodist Church.      Friday, January 27, 6:00 pm @ Fireside Reading Room in the Homer Public Library.

 Coffee & Literature @ The Homer Public Library: Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer for this novel, which, stylistically is very different than what we are accustomed to. What was Wilder experimenting with? American Literature Professor Toby Widdicombe will discuss the narrative structure and other contexts that help the reader understand the novel.                          Saturday, January 28, 10:30 am @ the library.

 Top Drawer Playwriting Competition Deadline:  In 2017, as part of the Homer Big Read and the Top Drawer program, the Friends of the Homer Library seeks submissions for plays about the history of Homer and/or contemporary life in Homer. One winner will be selected. The winner will receive $250, he/she will receive a bound copy of their play, a bound copy will also be made available at the Homer Public Library, and a staged reading of his/her play will be performed at Pier One Theatre in the summer 2017 season. Deadline: January 31, 2017. For complete guidelines go to:

Book Discussion at Kachemak Bay Campus:Join Lia Calhoun, Assistant Professor of English & Communications at KBC and share your thoughts and questions on Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town. Thursday, February 2, 6:00-8:00 pm @ KBC.

Our Town, Student Production.  Homer High School, Homer Council on the Arts, Pier One Theatre, and Friends of the Homer Library join forces to present a live production of Our Town directed by Amy Johnson.   Friday, February 10, 7:30 pm @ The Mariner Theatre Saturday, February 11, 3:00 pm & 6:30 pm. Tickets will be available at The Homer Public Library, Homer Council on the arts & The Homer Bookstore.

Pub Book Discussion with Rich Chiappone & Tom Kizzia: Join local authors to talk about Our Town & The Bridge of San Luis Rey.                                                                                            Wednesday, February 15, 6:00 pm, Alice’s Champagne Palace.

 Our Town: The Homer Experience: What makes up the stories of our town? Come celebrate the radio stories and listen to locals share moments of their lives in Homer.                             Thursday, February 16, 6:00 pm @ The Pratt Museum.

Meet & Greet @ Bunnell Street Arts Center: Come welcome Michael Dirda to the Homer community! We’ll have coffee and morning refreshments and get to know this Pulitzer-Prize winning author! Friday, February 24, 10:00 am.

 Craft of Reading with Michael Dirda@ Kachemak Bay Campus:   Sign-up in advance at The Homer Public Library. Friday, February 24, 6:00 pm.

 Keynote Presentation by Michael Dirda: Hailed as the “best read man in America,” Michael Dirda will give a talk on the merits of living a reading life, as well as share about the life and works of Thornton Wilder. Saturday, 6:00 pm, @ The Homer Public Library