For this year’s The Big Read, the Columbus community is reading “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers, who was born Carson Lula Smith in Columbus in 1917. All events are free.
Some of them are in the public library, one of the few places where McCullers felt at home while growing up in Columbus. Click here for a timeline of her life.
Now here’s the lineup of events:
▪ An Evening with Hilton Als: In the kickoff event for The Big Read, New Yorker writer Hilton Als gives an appreciation of Carson McCullers and her legendary first book, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” A dessert reception follows. 7-9 p.m. Jan. 25, Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road. Free. www.columbus museum.com
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▪ ‘The We of Me: The Chosen Families of Carson McCullers’: Exhibit examining McCullers’ childhood in Columbus, her circle of friends in New York, and the influence of these two different worlds on her writing. Contains original documents and artifacts from the collections of the Columbus Museum, the Columbus State University Archives, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, much of it on public display for the first time. Opens Jan. 31, Columbus Museum.
▪ Art exhibit: ‘Carson’: The Columbus State University Department of Art presents a showcase of works by contemporary artists reflecting on the identity and memories of Carson McCullers. Includes works by Bo Bartlett, Sarah Hobbs, John Morton and Carl Van Vecthen. Opens Jan. 31, Corn Center for the Visual Arts, 921 Front Avenue. Hours: Noon-4 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, through Feb. 17.
▪ ‘Carson’s Columbus: Race, Class, and Gender in 20th Century Columbus’: Drawn from the Columbus State University’s extensive collection of Carson McCullers material, this exhibit analyzes the social milieu in which the author grew up in Columbus. Opens Jan. 31, Schwob Memorial Library, Columbus State University, 4225 Macon Road.
▪ Lunch and Lecture: ‘Carson and Columbus: It’s Complicated’: Nick Norwood, director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University, examines the tangled relationship Carson McCullers had with the people of her hometown. Noon-1 p.m. Feb. 2, Columbus Museum.
▪ ‘Carson’s Columbus’: Dr. Virginia Causey, retired Professor of History at Columbus State University and author of the book “Red Clay, White Water, and Blues: The History of Columbus, Georgia,” discusses the world in which Carson McCullers was born and grew. 7-8 p.m. Feb 9, Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road.
▪ ‘Carson and the Southern Gothic’: Dr. Courtney George, past director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, places Carson McCullers’ work in the context of the Southern Gothic writer. 7-8 p.m. Feb. 16, Columbus Public Library.
▪ 100th Birthday Celebration with Karen Allen: Celebrate Carson McCullers’ birthday with music, drama and Hollywood. Actress Karen Allen, who played Marion in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” will debut her new short film based on the McCullers’ short story “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” Plus, a choral and dramatic performance by the Schwob School of Music and the CSU departments of English and Theatre. 4-6 p.m. Feb. 19, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway.
▪ A Discussion with Karen Allen Discusses Her New Movie: The actress discusses her new short film “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” Noon-1 p.m. Feb. 20, University Hall, Columbus State University, 4225 University Avenue.
▪ ‘The Illness Experience in Carson McCullers’ Life and Work’: Dr. Casey Kayser, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas and President of the Carson McCullers Society, looks at how illness impacted the life and work of McCullers. 7-8 p.m. Feb. 21, Columbus Public Library.
▪ Public Book Discussion of ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’: Discuss the classic McCullers’ novel. 5:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Columbus Public Library.