Big Read Puts Focus On Fitzgerald Novel

Posted April 28, 2008 at 4:32pm

“The Great Gatsby” may center on the lives of the nouveau riche in 1920s New York, but the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has several connections to the D.C. area, too. And it’s those ties that will be played up in this month’s Big Read.

The event will feature workshops, exhibits and book discussions around town to highlight the Fitzgerald classic’s links to the region.

Among other connections, Fitzgerald was named after Francis Scott Key, a Maryland native and the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Big Read is a nationwide program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Cities across the country can apply for grants to sponsor their Big Read projects and can choose their literary centerpiece from a list of books. Grants range from $2,500 to $20,000 depending on the size of the city and the scope of the events planned.

The Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest secured the District’s grant, which totaled $15,000 for the month of events, according to an NEA representative.

D.C.’s Big Read kicked off last week with jazz performances, theatrical readings and a vintage fashion show. Special programs will continue through May 24. For more information, visit

— Leah Carliner