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Chattahoochee Valley Libraries announces its 2017 Big Read

“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” the 1940 debut novel by Columbus native Carson McCullers, is the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries selection for the 2017 Big Read.
“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” the 1940 debut novel by Columbus native Carson McCullers, is the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries selection for the 2017 Big Read.

In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Carson McCullers’ birth, the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries has selected the Columbus native’s 1940 novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” as its 2017 Big Read.

The series of events will start Jan. 25 with a presentation by critic Hilton Als of The New Yorker, starting at 7 p.m., in the Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road. Admission is free. A dessert reception will follow the lecture. Als, who writes about art and culture, will discuss McCullers “as one of the writers who helped invent the prototype ‘outsider’ view of American society during World War II,” CVL said in its news release.

McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith on Feb. 19, 1917, in Columbus. The Georgia Encyclopedia considers her among the most significant American writers of the 20th Century.

She wrote five novels: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” “The Member of the Wedding,” “The Ballad of the Sad Café,” and “Clock Without Hands.” She also wrote two plays, 20 short stories, more than two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children’s verse, several poems and an unfinished autobiography, according to the Columbus State University Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians. At least four films based on her work have been produced.

In 1934, at age 17, McCullers moved to New York City, supposedly to study piano at the Juilliard School of Music but actually to pursue her secret ambition to write, according to the McCullers Center. Working various jobs to support herself, she studied creative writing at New York’s Columbia University and at Washington Square College of New York University. She continued her writing career in a house in Nyack N.Y., which was gifted to CSU. She died from a stroke at age 50.

In her obituary on the front page of The New York Times on Sept. 30, 1967, Eliot Fremont-Smith wrote, “It is not so much that the novel (“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”) paved the way for what became the American Southern gothic genre, but that it at once encompassed it and went beyond it.”

The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, was designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Since the pilot program started with 10 communities in 2006, the NEA has awarded more than 1,200 Big Read grants.

CHATTAHOOCHEE VALLEY LIBRARIES 2017 BIG READ

All events are free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.

For more information please visit www.cvlga.org.

KEYNOTE EVENTS

NEA Big Read Kick-off: An Evening with Hilton Als – 7:00pm Wednesday January 25; The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road; Admission Free; dessert reception to follow.

An iconoclastic critic takes on an iconoclastic author in this not-to-be-missed presentation! We kick off our NEA Big Read celebration of Carson McCullers and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter with this lecture by one of our nation’s leading literary and artistic critics, The New Yorker’s HILTON ALS. Mr. Als, who writes extensively about art and culture in contemporary America, will discuss his view of McCullers as one of the writers who helped invent the prototype “outsider” view of American society at the time of World War Two.

You can read Mr. Als’ famous essay on Ms. McCullers, “Unhappy Endings: The Collected Carson McCullers” at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2001/12/03/unhappy-endings.

Carson McCullers 100th Birthday Celebration – Sunday February 19, 4pm – RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway; Admission Free.

A bit of music, a bit of Hollywood, a bit of fame. Just what Carson McCullers might have wanted on her birthday. Legendary film actress KAREN ALLEN (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Perfect Storm) and a host of performers and musicians will come together with the community to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Carson McCullers in this once-in-a-lifetime event. The presentation will include:

 The world premiere of the short film A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud., based on the McCullers short story and produced and directed by Ms. Allen.

 “Carson’s Favorite Music,” curated and conducted by Dr. Paul Hostetter (the Ethel Foley Distinguished Chair in Orchestral Activities, Schwob School of Music) and performed by the CSU Philharmonic Orchestra.

 Dramatic Excerpts and monologues set to the music, drawn from Ms. McCullers work by playwright and poet Scott Wilkerson and directed by Dr. Larry Dooley.

For more information about the film A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. please visit www.atreearockacloudthefilm.com.

Meet the Director – Hollywood Legend Karen Allen Discusses A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. – Monday February 20, 12noon – University Hall, Columbus State University Main Campus; Admission Free.

KAREN ALLEN, whose new short film A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. will premiere February 19th at the RiverCenter, comes to the Columbus State University Main Campus to discuss her career, her approach to directing this story and her affection for its author Carson McCullers. She will take questions from the audience in this forum that is open to the public.

LECTURES

Carson and Columbus: It’s Complicated – Tuesday February 7, 12noon – The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road. Admission Free.

Join Dr. Nick Norwood, director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University, as he delves into the tangled relationship Carson McCullers had with the people of her hometown, Columbus Georgia. Part of the Columbus Museum’s “Lunch and Lecture” Series – please bring your lunch or contact the Museum’s Education Department at edu@columbusmuseum.com by Friday February 3 if you would like to reserve a $10 lunch.

Carson’s Columbus – Thursday February 9, 7pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free.

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 of Columbus in the 1920s-1940s, a world in which Carson McCullers was born and grew.

Carson McCullers and the Southern Gothic – Thursday February 16, 7pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free.

What is Carson McCullers’ contribution to Southern Gothic Literature? Why does she remain so influential to so many? Southern Literature expert Dr. Courtney George (Associate Professor of English at Columbus State University and former director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and

Musicians) will place her in the context of her contemporaries, the great Southern writers of the twentieth century. Dr. George will also talk about many modern writers who can trace their creative lineage back to McCullers.

The Illness Experience in Carson McCullers’ Life and Work – Tuesday February 21, 7pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free.

Dr. Casey Kayser (University of Arkansas), president of the Carson McCullers Society and co-editor of the upcoming Carson McCullers in the Twenty-First Century will use her expertise in both the literary and medical humanities fields to provide a wholly forward-looking interpretation on the importance of Ms. McCullers to future readers.

Beyond the Books: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Thursday February 23, 11:30am-1pm – MCofE HQ Donovan Research Library, Building 70, Ft. Benning. Admission Free. Please visit the Ft. Benning website for important information about visitor access.

Ft. Benning history expert JEAN HARRON will lead this lively book discussion of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and other McCullers titles (such as Reflections in a Golden Eye) with a particular focus on the influence of the base in her work. Please bring your lunch; the library will provide drinks. For more information call 706.545.6411 x8591 or visit www.benning.army.mil/library.

EXHIBITS

The We of Me: The Chosen Families of Carson McCullers – From January 31, 2017 – Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road; Admission Free.

Using 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, The We of Me examines McCullers’ childhood in Columbus, her circle of friends in New York, and the influence of these two different worlds in her writing. Much of the material will be on public display for the first time. For more information about the exhibit and museum hours please visit the exhibit website.

Carson’s Columbus: Race, Class, and Gender in 20th Century Columbus – From January 31, 2017 – Schwob Memorial Library, Columbus State University Main Campus, 4225 University Avenue; Admission Free.

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. Please visit library.columbusstate.edu for a complete list of Schwob Memorial Library hours.

Carson – January 17, 2017 through February 25, 2017 – Bay Gallery, Corn Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus State University Riverpark Campus; Admission Free.

The Columbus State University Department of Art is honored to be part of the celebration of Carson McCuller’s 100th Birthday. The art exhibition “Carson” which will showcase works by contemporary artists reflecting on the identity and memories of Carson McCullers. Works by Bo Bartlett, Sarah Hobbs, John Morton, Carl Van Vecthen among others will be featured in this exhibition. Hours of operation of the Bay Gallery are: M-Fri: 12 – 4 pm and Sat: 11 – 4 pm, or make an appointment with Hannah Israel at israel_hannah@columbusstate.edu. Parking: 920 Front Ave or street parking in front if available.

MOVIES – McCullers Saturday Matinee

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) – Saturday January 28, 1:30pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free. The acclaimed film adaptation of McCullers’ first novel starring Alan Arkin, Sondra Locke and Chuck McCann earned rave reviews upon its debut. Rated G.

The Member of the Wedding (1952) – Saturday February 4, 1:30pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free. This masterpiece, directed by Fred Zinneman and memorably starring Julie Harris, Ethel Waters and Brandon de Wilde, tells the story of young tomboy Frankie’s coming-of-age, set against the wedding of her older brother. Not rated.

Sound and Fury (2000) and Sound and Fury: Six Years Later (2006) – Saturday February 11, 1:30pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free. This searing documentary, nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, follows an extended American family with deafness extending three generations who must make the decision regarding the giving their youngest children cochlear implants. A short-film sequel takes up the story of the families six years after their first fateful decisions.

The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991) – Saturday February 25, 1:30pm – Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road; Admission Free. The Merchant-Ivory production, based on the Edward Albee stage adaptation of Carson McCuller’s novella, follows the rise and demise of moonshiner Miss Amelia (Vanessa Redgrave) who turns her general store in a small Georgia town into a center for culture and art.

PUBLIC BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS

Several branches of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries will host book discussions of the NEA Big Read celebration of Carson McCullers and her debut novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Copies of the novel may be distributed at the January meetings of each club; please contact the branch for more information.

Books and Brews Book Club – Saturday February 4, 2:00pm – Sponsored by the Mildred L. Terry Public Library. CALL 706.243.2782 for this month’s location (the discussion takes place at a new restaurant each month).

Page Turners Book Club – Saturday February 11, 1:00pm – Mildred L. Terry Public Library Alpha Kappa Alpha Room, 640 Veterans Parkway. Please call the branch at 706.243.2782 if you need more information.

NEA Big Read Book Club – Thursday February 23, 5:30pm – Columbus Public Library Synovus/CB&T Meeting Room A, 3000 Macon Road. Please call the reference desk at 706.243.2701 for more information.

One More Chapter Book Club – Thursday February 23, 6:30pm – North Columbus Public Library Small Conference Room, 5689 Armour Road. Please call the branch at 706.748.2855 if you need more information.

Adult and Teen Book Club Date/Time TBD – Parks Memorial Public Library, Richland, GA. Please call the branch at 229.887.2103 for more information.

LIBRARY PROGRAMS

Family Sign Language – Every Wednesday, 4:00pm – Mildred L. Terry Public Library Alpha Kappa Alpha Room, 640 Veterans Parkway. This fun program for the family teaches basic words and phrases in

American Sign Language. Different topics are explored each week so feel free to attend one or more sessions!

NEA Big Read – Six Word Memoirs and Homemade Journals – Wednesday January 25, 4:00pm – South Columbus Public Library, 2034 Lumpkin Road. Especially for teens, find out about writing a six-word memoir of yourself and about the importance of journaling for young adults and writers-to-be.

Memoir and Journal Workshop – Tuesday January 31, 4:00pm – North Columbus Public Library Large Conference Room, 5689 Armour Road. Learn the basics of journal keeping and bullet journaling at this workshop. Using Carson McCullers as our example, we’ll show you how easy it is to start your own memoir. All materials will be provided.

Coffee and Coloring Club – Tuesday February 14, 4:00pm – North Columbus Public Library Large Conference Room, 5689 Armour Road. Our Coffee and Coloring Club provides a relaxing activity to de-stress while creating beautiful artwork! We meet the second Tuesday of every month. Join us in February as we focus on Carson McCullers in our craft. All materials are provided.

CHESS PROGRAMS

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter uses the game of chess as a metaphor for communication, for character and for life. Please visit one of our chess programs to learn about the game and hone your skills!

Chess Club for Adults – Saturday February 4, 4:00pm – Columbus Public Library Synovus/CB&T Meeting Room A, 3000 Macon Road. The protagonists of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter rely on chess as their main form of recreation. Come discover what they knew about this classic game. The Chess Club meets the first Saturday of every month. For more information please call the Columbus Public Library Reference Department at 706.243.2701.

Let’s Play Chess! – Tuesday February 28, 4:00pm – North Columbus Public Library Large Conference Room, 5689 Armour Road. This one-time program for all ages will teach the basics of chess and will provide an opportunity for you to hone your skills.

Unplug from the Computer for Chess’ Sake – Tuesday February 7 and 21, 4:30pm – Mildred L. Terry Public Library, 640 Veterans Parkway. Community Mentors help coach this weekly chess program especially for children. All skill levels are welcome.

SPONSORS

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

This project is supported by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.

CARSON AT 100: THE McCULLERS CENTENNIAL is presented by the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians of Columbus State University.

Additional event sponsors include the Muscogee County Library Foundation, the Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, the Columbus Museum, and the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Media sponsors include WRBL News 3 and iHeart Radio.

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