SOKY Book Fest Partnership Receives New Big Read Grant to Feature “The Great Gatsby”

The Southern Kentucky (SOKY) Book Fest partners have received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host another Big Read project in Bowling Green and the surrounding region. The Big Read gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 30 selections from American and world literature. The Big Read in Bowling Green will center on the classic book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald<. The project will be held September 15 to November 15 and focus on the theme of the American Dream.

“During these challenging economic times reading The Great Gatsby is especially relevant,” said WKU Libraries Community Outreach Manager Tracy Harkins. Warren County Public Library Director Lisa Rice said, “The book’s 1920s period will provide for community dialogues about social class and how success is defined in America.” Big Read activities will include a roaring twenties party, national guest speakers, numerous book discussions, and book giveaways of 1000 copies of the novel. This is the second Big Read for SOKY Book Fest which previously hosted a To Kill a Mockingbird program.

The partners chose The Great Gatsby because of several Kentucky ties to the book. Author Fitzgerald was stationed in Kentucky during WWI, and he frequented the famous Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. His wife Zelda’s family was also from Kentucky. The Great Gatsby characters Nick and Daisy meet in Louisville where she is said to be from a wealthy Southern family.

SOKY Book Fest is one of 269 organizations nationwide and seven in Kentucky to receive a grant to host The Big Read during the upcoming academic year. To date, the NEA has given more than 800 grants to support local Big Read projects. For more information about The Big Read please visit

SOKY Book Fest is a partnership project of WKU Libraries, Warren County Public Library, and Barnes and Noble booksellers. For more information visit or contact Tracy Harkins at 270-745-5016.

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