NEA Big Read

NEABigRead-Color-with partner names
cwtasmp book cover medium size

Our NEA Big Read book for 2018:

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? 

by Roz Chast

Stay tuned for the calendar of events

for all of September 2018!

New Yorker cartoonist and author Roz Chast will be here on Wednesday, September 5! Details TBA.


June 5, 2018 (Helena, MT)—Your Lewis & Clark Library is a recipient of a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Helena and Lewis and Clark County. A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Lewis & Clark Library is one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program between September 2018 and June 2019. The NEA Big Read in our community will focus on Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. Activities will take place during September.

“We are honored to be selected for a 12th NEA Big Read Grant,” stated Lewis & Clark Library Director John Finn during a press announcement at the Library on Tuesday. “During the month of September, we will host a series of events and programs focused on the themes of the book, including being part of the “sandwich generation,” aging well, and telling our life stories with art and words.”

The Lewis & Clark Library is pleased to welcome award winning author Roz Chast for the Keynote presentation on Wednesday, September 5th at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Chast will discuss her memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Her presentation will be followed by signing “Being able to bring the author to Helena for a discussion and signing is a privilege and something we couldn’t do for the community without the support of the Lewis & Clark Library Foundation and the NEA Big Read Grant,” explained Finn. 

As in years past, the Library’s website will be the primary communication tool to let everyone know the schedule of events. From book discussion groups to lectures and films, this Big Read will have something for everyone. Finn encourages everyone to visit as the Big Read draws nearer.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for communities across the nation, both small and large, to take part in the NEA Big Read,” said NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “This program encourages people to not only discuss a book together, but be introduced to new perspectives, discuss the issues at the forefront of our own lives, and connect with one another at events.”

The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $19 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past eleven years, grantees have leveraged more than $44 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 4.9 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 82,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book. 
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.