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NEA Big Read Application

Call for partners and programs

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is looking to develop artistic, literary, and cultural events and programs around The Round House by Louise Erdrich as part of an application for the NEA’s Big Read program.

Programs can explore or engage with any themes of the book. Examples include: teaching the book in your class; reading the book in your book club; hosting a discussion group in the community; talks, presentations, lectures, panels, q&a’s, or other educational programs on creative writing, literature, indigenous studies, social justice, critical race theory, or other areas relevant to the book; writing groups and workshops; storytelling performances; plays or staged readings; visual art; music performances; dance; etc.

While no financial contributions are necessary, partners are expected to support their own programs. Copies of The Round House will be provided to all partners upon request. Anyone can be a partner or propose a program. The deadline for program proposals is January 10, 2020. 

To submit a program proposal, send an email to Associate Director Angie Dell at

To learn more, keep reading or download the information sheet. The first chapter of The Round House is available to read on the publisher's website here. You can also visit the Big Read's website or contact Associate Director Angie Dell at

About the Book

Blending the classic coming-of-age story  with elements of memoir, detective novels, suspense, and storytelling / oral history, the Round House "tells the suspenseful tale of a 13-year-old boy's investigation and desire for revenge following a brutal attack on his mother that leaves his father, a tribal judge, helpless in his pursuit to bring the perpetrator to justice," (NEA Big Read). While the primary theme in the novel is justice through the lens of indigenous history and tribal law, the book also explores family, sexuality, relationships, and religion.

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore. (HarperCollins)