National Endowment for the Arts selects 2023 Big Read, plans to host over 20 events


Khánh Nguyễn

National Endowment for the Arts is the largest federal funder of the arts and art community in the nation.

Cartoonist Roz Chast’s book, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoirhas been selected for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) 2023 Big Read.

Chast’s New York Times bestseller memoir dives into the topic of aging. 

“By turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny,” Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times, said. “Ms. Chast reminds us how deftly the graphic novel can capture ordinary crises in ordinary American lives.”

The book follows Chast’s deceased parents in their final years, told through cartoons.

NEA also selected four children’s books for the Big Read, “I’ll Hold Your Hand,” “Let Me Fix You a Plate,” “Merci Suárez Changes Gears,” and “Rebound.”

Events to come

To start off the 2023 NEA Big Read, the Advanced Learning Library will host a kick off event on March 12 from 2-4 p.m. 

The event will feature music, dancing, and art, along with free copies of the book (while supplies last). The event is open to all ages. 

For the next event, Erica Greenwood, owner of Grief Recovery Kansas and a certified grief recovery specialist, will talk about how to deal with the challenges that come with old age. The event will be held on March 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Advanced Learning Library.

On March 16 at 5:30 p.m., the Advanced Learning Library will be showing “The Notebook.” Tickets are free, but suggested to grab ahead of time due to limited seating.

The organization will host 10 other events in March also dedicated to the book and topic, which can be found here. 

In April, NEA will host  10 more events throughout the month, including a Keynote Speech from Chast. The event will be held on April 15 from 6-7 p.m. at the Wichita State University Hughes Metroplex.