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The Big ReadIn February 2008, Greensboro Public Library partnered with Bennett College for Women in sponsoring the community-wide reading of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Discussions, guest speakers and special events took place February through March to celebrate this classic novel.

Summary: First published amid controversy in 1937, then rescued from obscurity four decades later, the novel narrates Janie Crawford's ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny. Although Hurston wrote the novel in only seven weeks, Their Eyes Were Watching God breathes and bleeds a whole life's worth of urgent experience.
In addition to print copies, we have sets available in our book discussion collection and downloadable audio.
Explore black feminism, Harlem Renaissance, and the life and times of Zora Neale Huston using this guide.

Events

Bennett CollegeThe Big Read Kick-Off
Friday, February 1, 3-4:30 pm at the David Dallas Jones Student Union, Bennett College for Women

Zora Neale Hurston: A Heart with Room for Every Joy
Saturday, February 9, 1-3 pm, at Vance Chavis Library.
Documentary screening with presentation by Hurston scholar Dr. Giselle Jones-Jones.
Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
Saturday, February 16, 2 pm at Benjamin Branch Library.
African American Book Group discusses the novel.

Flip da’ Script: Zora Neale Hurston Dialect Contest for Teens
Saturday February 16, 3-5 pm at Vance Chavis Library.
Test your skills and your understanding of “black dialect” from the novel. Teams of three will “break it down” and battle for prizes in this fast-paced program. All teams must register for the competition by January 31.

Zora’s Café: Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance
Monday, February 18, 7 pm at Central Library.
Enjoy music and great American poetry as local poets share voices of the Harlem Renaissance: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and more.

Their Eyes Were Watching GodTheir Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
Saturday, February 26, 12 noon at Benjamin Branch Library.
Book discussion and screening of the HBO movie with the NE Book Club.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
February, Thursday, Feb. 28, 7 pm at Hemphill Branch Library.
The Literati Society discusses the novel.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
Thursday, March 6, 7 pm at Central Library
Central Library Book Group discusses the novel.

Zora is My Name
Saturday, March 8, 3 pm at Hemphill Branch Library.
Film screening and discussion.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
Thursday, March 27, 2:30 pm at Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library.
Tea and Book Club discusses the novel.

Good Eats: Culinary Treats from Their Eyes Were Watching God
Saturday, March 22, 3-5 pm at Vance Chavis Library.
This monthly food program, sponsored by the Chavis Library, will focus on food from the novel.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Discussion
Sunday, March 30, 3 pm at Vance Chavis Library.

Beyond Zora: Doin’ the Real
Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, at Bennett College for Women.
This annual Women’s Summit will focus on topics related to women writers, including Zora Neale Hurston.


The Big Read

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. It is designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read aims to address this issue directly by providing residents with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. Learn more.
Last updated: 2/1/2017 10:18:25 AM