Longwood has received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host an NEA Big Read in Farmville and Prince Edward County next year.

Beginning April 6, the four-week Heart of Virginia Reads, as it will be known locally, will focus Southside Virginia’s attention on author Ron Rash’s celebrated work Burning Bright, a series of unforgettable stories set in Appalachia. Planned HOV Reads events include book discussions, film screenings, music performances, an author keynote at Longwood, and workshops and other activities at Hampden-Sydney College.

NEA Big Read

All events will be free and open to the public; a full schedule will be released later in the year.

A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read seeks to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Longwood, the lead organization in the community grant—other partners include Prince Edward County Public Schools, the Central Virginia Regional Library system and Hampden-Sydney—is one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program in the next year.

“We are so excited to engage with the larger community on this project,” said Brent Roberts, dean of Longwood’s Greenwood Library. “The stories in Burning Bright are gripping, but they are also a springboard into discussions of Appalachian culture, history, food and music. There’s something in there for everyone—and the grant allows us to lead those discussions on our common cultural interests.” 

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