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Eastern’s Big Read program to begin Fall events

Published on September 17, 2021

Eastern’s Big Read program to begin Fall events

Thi Bui
Thi Bui, author of "The Best We Could Do." 

Eastern Connecticut State University is one of 61 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2021-22 Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The grant of $20,000 — the maximum NEA provides — will support a community reading program centered around “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui. From October 2021 until January 2022, Eastern will host a series of events related to the book and its subject matter.

From Oct. 18 to Feb. 1, the graphic novel “Power to Heal” will be featured in the Big Read exhibition.

On Oct. 19 in the Art Gallery, an opening reception and talk will be given by Jeffrey Greene, program manger and coordinator of the Prison Arts Program at Community Partners in Action. The Prison Arts Program strives to increase self-esteem and self-examination among Connecticut inmates through art classes, exhibitions and publications. For more information visit .

On Oct. 26, Annie Buckley, director of the Prison Arts Collective (PAC) at San Diego State University will work with art teacher and book artist Michele Burgess, to host a conversation via Zoom about PAC’s initiatives. For more information, visit .

On Nov. 8, Paris-based artist Marcelino Truong will host a workshop via Zoom. Truong is also a graphic designer, illustrator and author whose book “Such a Lovely Little War” highlights the Vietnam War.

On Nov.10, Thi Bui, graphic novelist, illustrator and author of the featured graphic memoir “The Best We Could Do” will be the virtual keynote speaker for Eastern’s Big Read 2021 Program. “Our invitation to participate in Big Read received tremendously enthusiastic responses from both international and external organizations,” said Bui. “The scale and diversity of activities and programs planned by our participating partners is phenomenal.”

“Kriss” an adaption of the mythological characters Orestes and Electra will be portrayed in the context of post-traumatic stress disorder after the Vietnam War. This opening was co-written by world languages and cultures professor Michèle Bacholle. Time and place are to be determined.

In the continuing effort to establish art in prisons, a discussion with director of the Florida Prison Education Project Keri Watson will also take place this semester; time and place are to be determined. For more information on the project visit .

The Big Read events are not quite finalized, please stay updated by visiting .

Written by Bobbi Brown

Categories: Art Gallery, Library