The Virginia G. Piper
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NEA Big Read: Phoenix

Over 25 performances, panels, and more celebrating Indigenous culture and literary arts

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to announce that we've received a Big Read Grant from the National Endowment from the Arts!

Drawing inspiration from Louise Erdrich's The Round House, the Piper Center will be organizing an dynamic and extensive line-up of interconnected performances, workshops, and other conversations celebrating Indigenous culture and literary arts in March 2021. 

Our programs include a keynote reading and discussion with poet Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota), a Diné poetry reading curated by Jake Skeets (Diné), a series of oral history and scanning workshops with the Labriola National American Indian Data Center and local poet Amber McCrary (Diné), a storytelling event organized by Liz Warren of South Mountain Community College, a panel reconvening members of the HB2570 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women committee with State Representative Jennifer Jermaine, literary salons, writing workshops, reading groups, tours, and more. 

Our partners include the Labriola National American Indian Data Center, the American Indian Policy Institute, Phoenix Public Library, Arizona Humanities, the Phoenix Indian School Visitors Center, and more.

To learn more about our grant, download the press release. More information about programming and partners will be announced in Fall 2020.

If you're interested in getting involved with the grant or have any questions, contact Marketing and Outreach Specialist Jake Friedman at 240.593.1757 or

About The Round House by Louise Erdrich

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 NEA Big Read

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is one of 78 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2019 and June 2020. More information about the NEA Big Read is available at