A young boy discovers that he has a talent for magic and casting spells. So great is his power, that his abilities soon become legend.
A dead spirit makes its way into world, attacking the boy and placing a scar on his face. The boy hones his skills by attending a renowned school for wizards, where he quickly learns to master his craft. While this may sound like something straight out of a Harry Potter novel, it isn’t.
This premise is the setting for Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1968 novel A Wizard of Earthsea, written 29 years before the first Harry Potter book. Le Guin’s novel will be the subject of the 2012 Big Read at St. Catharine College, the only location in Kentucky to receive this year’s grant.
“We are the only location in Kentucky to receive this grant for 2012,” said Evelyn Silliman, director of the rtl3 Reading program at SCC. “This is the second year the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded The Big Read grant to St. Catharine and the tri-county region.”
This year, it was even tougher to get the grant because of cuts to federal spending.
“In the past, there were over 200 grants available across the country,” added Silliman. “This year, there were only 75 grants available, but our application was approved and we were awarded another grant.”
There are several Big Read events scheduled in Washington, Marion and Nelson counties throughout the month of March.
“The Big Read is important because it unites the tri-county region with SCC as we engage in common reading, activities, and conversation,” Silliman said. “In short, The Big Read successfully draws us together as a community with common interests and goals. This year, our tri-county librarians and St. Catharine have chosen A Wizard of Earthsea to read together during the month of March from NEA’s list of 27 accepted books. This young adult novel attracts all ages of readers, as we venture into a world of wizards and demons in a landscape symbolic of the earth we know, bespeaking our unrelenting responsibility to this earth, our fellow creatures, and ourselves. In addition to our local public library partners, we are excited to welcome over 300 local public and private school children in the three counties who are participating in the 2012 Big Read in Central Kentucky.”
Dr. Devin Brown, Professor of English at Asbury University, will offer his expertise on the subject of fantasy writing during The Big Read Kick-Off at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 in Pettus Auditorium, located in the Richard S. Hamilton Health and Science Building. Brown, will offer insights about Ursula K. Le Guin. Following his presentation, Dr. Brown will sign copies of his novel “Not Exactly Normal,” along with his non-fiction works “Inside Narnia,” “Inside Prince Caspian” and “Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
If anyone is interested in participating in The Big Read, they can contact their local library to pick up a free copy of the book and a schedule.
They can also contact Evelyn Silliman at (859) 336-5082, ext. 1322.