NEA Big Read Events

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Norman Alexandroff ( or go to

NEA Big Read Kick-Off: Views of Global Migration, Haiti

Thursday, March 21 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 S Michigan Ave

In conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Photography's exhibit Stateless: Views of Global Migration, Mario LaMothe, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, uses oral history and journalistic accounts to narrate Haitian immigrants' physical transformations during their captivity in American detention facilities. More...

Did you miss the Kick-Off Event? View the recap:

College Assembly: Student Activism in a Divided Nation

Thursday, April 25 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Film Row Cinema
1104 S Wabash Ave

In conjunction with the NEA Big Read, Columbia College Assembly and the Columbia Library are co-sponsoring “Student Activism in a Divided Nation,” a panel discussion on the role of students as agents for social change on issues that matter to them.  The panel will be moderated by Columbia College Chicago adjunct professor Stan West. More...

NEA Big Read Keynote: Edwidge Danticat: The American Dream Reconsidered

Thursday, April 25 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Film Row Center
1104 S Wabash Ave

The award-winning Haitian-born writer Edwidge Danticat (author of Brother, I'm Dying) explores the concept and meaning of the American Dream in the time of the Trump Administration. Ms. Danticat will be interviewed on stage by Professor Karen Richman, Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame and author of Migration and Vodou. More...

NEA Big Read Community Event—What Makes America Great: Immigration Policy and Chicago

Friday, April 26 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Film Row Cinema
1104 S Wabash Ave

Edwidge Danticat, the award-winning Haitian-born writer (author of Brother, I'm Dying), reflects on the role of immigration in shaping Chicago and the U.S. Ms. Danticat's presentation will include a response panel, featuring noted policy-makers and academics, followed by a celebration of Haitian culture (music, dance, food, and drink). More...

Art Exhibit

An American Dream Reconsidered: Immigrant Rights Now!

April 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019
618 S Michigan Ave
1st Floor Display Windows

In conjunction with the NEA Big Read, An American Dream Reconsidered: Immigrant Rights Now! is an exhibit/display of community-engaged paintings, mixed-media works, and photography focused on immigration rights and celebrating the literary work of Edwidge Danticat. It features artwork by Chicago youth and contemporary artists Maria de Los Angeles and Instituto de Nuestra Cultura (INC.). This exhibit display is co-supported the History, Humanities and Social Sciences Department, the Library at Columbia College Chicago, and a P-fac grant. Special thanks is also given to the Fashion Studies Department and the Center for Black Music Research. More...

Book Discussion Groups

North Riverside Public Library

April 9, 2019 from 6:45pm to 8:00pm
2400 Desplaines Ave
North Riverside, IL 60546

AAL Book Discussion Group

April 10, 2019 from 7:00 to 8:00pm
Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center
1823 Church Street
Evanston, IL 60201

More details...

Columbia College Chicago Library

April 23, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:00pm
624 S Michigan Ave, 3rd Floor
Sonja Smalley, discussion leader

Cicero Public Library

April 27, 2019 from 10:30am to 12:00pm
April 29, 2019 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm
5225 W Cermak Road
Cicero, IL 60804

East-West University Library

May 15, 2019 from 12:00pm to 1pm
816 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605