NEA Big Read

What is NEA Big Read?

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 NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.  

Farmers Branch Manske Library is one of 79 organizations to receive funding for a dynamic community reading program. The activities, programs, and special events will center around the themes of art and survival. The book selection for this NEA Big Read program is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

NEABigRead Logo in color

The Book Selection

Emily St. John Mandel examines the themes of art, fame, ambition, and survival in her novel Station Eleven. 

The story begins on a snowy night in Toronto as a famous, aging actor dies on stage during a production of King Lear. On this same night, a flu epidemic begins sweeping across all nations of the world. Years in the future, a theater troupe called The Travelling Symphony wanders throughout the post-apocalyptic wasteland bringing art and culture to the few remaining survivors of the Georgia Flu pandemic.

Moving fluidly between past, present, and future, Station Eleven examines the twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Travelling Symphony.

Station Eleven book cover

The Author

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, The Singer's Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

For more information on this speaker please visit

Emily St. John Mandel will be at the Library on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 6 PM for an Author Talk and book signing. Please register for this event here

Emily St. John Mandel Credit Sarah Shatz
                                  Photo by Sarah Shatz

NEA Big Read Farmers Branch Community Partners

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  Brookhaven Community College logo

The Wild Detectives Logo; bookstore, bar, venueInterabang Books LogoCity of Farmers Branch Logo

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.