Wisconsin communities to read and celebrate ‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — The University of Wisconsin Colleges has been awarded a $15,000 grant to host NEA Big Read initiatives in a number of Wisconsin communities in 2018. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts and in partnership with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read is meant to broaden understanding of the world and its communities through the sharing of a good book.
The UW Colleges is one of 75 nonprofit organizations in the country to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2017 and June 2018.
As part of this effort, people from Marshfield, Rice Lake, Baraboo, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Hayward, and the Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe tribe will read Louise Erdrich’s “The Round House” next March and April.
“We are delighted to see our proposal for an NEA Big Read on ‘The Round House’ by such a fine writer as Louise Erdrich go forward,” said Lee Friederich, Wisconsin Reads The Round House project director and senior lecturer and international programs coordinator at UW-Barron County.
Written in the voice of a 13-year-old boy named Joe, whose mother has been brutally raped, “The Round House” explores the impact of the rape on family members and the tribal community as well as the larger issue of sexual assault on Native American women. With discussions, films, lectures, art exhibits, and story-telling workshops on university campuses, public libraries, and other venues around the state, the project will also provide programming for youth, who will be introduced to Erdrich’s children’s novel “The Birchbark House” and her first book of poetry, “Jacklight.”
Students enrolled in the UW Colleges’ Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree program at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, UW-Barron County, UW-Marshfield/Wood County, and UW-Waukesha along with students at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCO-OCC) in Hayward are working to plan and promote next year’s NEA Big Read activities in their home communities.
“I am proud that the NEA Big Read is not only a collaboration with LCO-OCC, but it also has been a collaborative project for our BAAS students on various campuses,” said Friederich. “Last summer we started to develop our ideas for participating in the NEA Big Read during their Writing for Non-Profits course. Last fall, as part of their internship experience, our BAAS students followed through on writing the proposal.”