NEA Big Read | The Carson Center
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The Official Website of The Carson Center

NEA Big Read

Big Read Calendar of Events

POSTPONED – Spoken - Word Workshop with Samuel Hawkins @ The Carson Center – Samuel “Snacks” Hawkins will guide students through exercises to put poetic devices into practice; linking personal feelings and the use of poetic devices to convey feelings and stories they would like to share; lastly, participants will use poem cliffs and explore inspiration and what drives passion and strategies to live your life inspired to continuously feed your creative spirit.

12/30/2019: 12: 30 – 1PM PRX Audio Documentary: Fahrenheit 451 - A world without books. That's something writer Ray Bradbury imagined and re-imagined for much of his life. As one of the most influential science fiction writers in history, Bradbury's work, more than 500 short stories and 11 novels to date, has helped shape the last half century of American literature and popular culture. The program features Bradbury along with several cultural luminaries, including Orson Scott Card, John Crowley, Paquito D'Rivera, Hector Elizondo, Nat Hentoff, Ursula K. Le Guin, Azar Nafisi, Luis Alberto Urrea and Sam Weller.

12/30/2019 – Kickoff Event at The Carson Center - Guest Lecturer - Sam Weller: 7PM (Doors open at 6PM). Sam Weller is the authorized biographer of Ray Bradbury and a two-time Bram Stoker Award winner. He is the author of The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury, a national bestseller and winner of the 2005 Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Biography and the companion book, Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews. With Mort Castle, Weller co-edited the anthology Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Weller's essays have appeared in the Paris Review, on the National Public Radio Program All Things Considered, Slate magazine, Ploughshares and many others. His short fiction has appeared in numerous books, literary journals, and magazines. Weller is a frequent lecturer on the life and legacy of Ray Bradbury. He has given over 400 talks around the world. Weller’s collection of modern Gothic short fiction, Dark Black, will be published in May. Receive a free copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 while supplies last. This event is FREE and open to the public. 

1/2/2020 – Book Discussion Jackson Oaks Independent Living Community (not open to the public)

1/2/2020 – Fahrenheit 451, original film screening at Maiden Alley Cinema: 7PM Truffaut's version of the Ray Bradbury story about a society where books are banned.  In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.  Starring:  Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Jeremy Spenser. FREE and open to the public. Space is limited. 

1/3/2020 – Specialty Hot Chocolate available at Piper's! – First 20 customers receive a free copy of Fahrenheit 451.  Warm up with Fahrenheit 451 this winter! 

POSTPONED - Teen Open Mic at Etcetera Coffeehouse 6:30 – 8 PM - Teens will present original works at Etcetera Coffeehouse.  This event will provide an opportunity for students who participated in Snacks Hawkins’ spoken-word workshop to present their works.  The event is open to all students wanting to participate.

1/16/2020 – Paducah School of Art and Design presents Dystopia - West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Paducah School of Art and Design presents  Dystopia, an exhibition of photographic works by advanced photography students interpreting  the themes and events of Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451. The exhibition will be on display in PSAD’s downstairs Alcove Gallery and will accompany an exhibition of paintings by  Joan Dance in the Bill Ford Gallery. An opening reception will be hosted from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m., January 16 in PSAD’s 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street and both exhibitions will remain on display through February 25.

1/18/2020 – Book Discussion at Confleur - This book discussion will pair themes of Fahrenheit 451 with food and with cocktails available for purchase. 

1/21/2020 – First Amendment Panel Discussion in The Carson Center’s Myre River Room: 7PM - Local Journalists and other opinion leaders, including managers and anchors from WPSD Local 6, answer questions about the Press, the First Amendment, Open Records and Meetings law and the people’s right to know. 

1/22/2020 – Creative Writing Reception – WKCTC’s Matheson Library:  11AM – Noon - The Carson Center, in partnership with West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC), presents The NEA Big Read Paducah Creative Writing Contest.  This contest will require each submission, a poem or a short story, to draw its opening and closing lines from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.  It was a pleasure to burn…    When we reach the city.    Please note that you are not rewriting Fahrenheit 451.  Your goal is to create a brand new work using only the opening and closing lines of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel.  Your poem or short story should draw inspiration from the opening and closing lines but doesn’t have to reflect any subject matter in Bradbury’s work. No words should come before the opening line or after the closing line.  However, the opening and closing lines can be added to.  For example, “It was a pleasure to burn, she said.”  Or, since the last line is a fragment you may consider, “We will find out when we reach the city.” 

Contest submissions will be accepted from two genres (poetry and short fiction), and each genre will have two categories: 
High school students (public, private, home schooled) grades 9-12, and
College/university students, faculty, or staff,  as well as community members at-large. 

A winner and runner-up will be selected from each category in each genre.  Each winner and runner-up will present their works at a reception on January 22, 2020, from 11AM to noon at the WKCTC Matheson Library.   

Winners will receive  a $50 gift card and a chance to present their work in front of an audience at WKCTC.
Runners-up will receive a $25 gift card and a chance to present their work in front of an audience at WKCTC.

All entries must be typed and submitted to as an email attachment.  Your submission should include your name, genre and selected category on a separate cover page; your work should not include your name or any other identifying information.  Email deadline is Monday, December 30, 2019.  Winners will be notified by Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Length: Poems should be no longer than two pages; and short stories should be 1000 words or less. 
Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges on originality and content; how you have taken ownership of the opening and closing lines of the novel.  Your work should be compelling, creative, entertaining and/or thought-provoking.  Decisions of the judges are final.

We look forward to your submission!

1/25/2020 – Opening Member Reception at Yeiser Art Center: 5 – 7 PM -Every year the Yeiser Art Center proudly hosts an Annual Members Show to honor its members and showcase their artistic works in a single comprehensive exhibition. YAC Members are diverse in their artistic practices and mediums and include (but are by no means limited to) fiber artists, sculptors, painters, poets, performers, and photographers. Ray Black & Sons sponsors the exhibition each year, in memory of one of the Yeiser's founding members Virginia Black. This year, YAC is excited to partner with The Carson Center's Big Read program and highlight works that are related to the theme of "censorship in art." 

1/28/2020 – Creative Aging Discussion with Constance Alexander: 11AM - The Carson Center’s Creative Aging group for seniors 60 and better will participate in a workshop featuring a mini-story circle that focuses on the topic:  "Questions you wish you asked to someone who no longer available to answer.”  This workshop is designed to focus on  memories, a theme in Fahrenheit 451.  The seniors will detail what they find compelling, interesting, and exciting.

1/28/2020 – Book Club at WKMS: 5:30 PM - The WKMS Book Club meets periodically throughout the year at the WKMS Studios (8th Floor Murray State University Fine Arts Building) for a group discussion, to share thoughts and ideas on selected books, often relating the topics to current news and topics.

1/30/2020 – Chili-Cookoff @ Jackson Oaks (Not Open to the Public)

3/29/20 and 3/30/20 – Theatrical Staged Reading - The Carson Center will produce and present Fahrenheit 451. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper ignites. With simple sets and uncomplicated staging, this powerful drama is about the inner struggle of Guy Montag, a fireman. Montag has worked as a civil servant for ten years burning books, but lately he has become increasingly unsure about what he is doing and about his vegetable-like existence. It is not until he meets 16-year-old Clarisse, who is filled with strange ideas, that he is led into a dangerous and highly combustible situation. Now he must choose between continuing his nonexistent existence and risking everything for the right to think.  Adapted for the stage by Ray Bradbury, this is the first-ever fully produced and presented work by The Carson Center. Sponsored by WKMS.

McCracken County Public Library facilitated events:
1/13/2020 – Shorts and Stouts  7PM - Have a beer (or don’t!) at this library staff-led discussion of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 held at Dry Ground Brewing Company. 
1/20/2020 – 2/10/2020 – Banned Book Display. A banned book display on the first floor of McLib through February 10, 2020.
1/23/2020 – Juvenile Detention Center Book Discussion – Library Outreach (Not Open to the Public). The library will use Fahrenheit 451 as springboard to think critically about and discuss the future, and not just the students' futures but also the future of humans as a whole.
1/25/2020 – Fit Lit 2PM - A walking book club combines a fun and informal small group book discussion along with some healthy exercise! This library staff-led talk will lead readers on a scenic walk around downtown, while we discuss Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

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