The Big Read


Worcester, MA will come together to read and celebrate Zora Neale Hurston’s novel
Their Eyes Were Watching God

WPI and The YWCA of Central Massachusetts will launch their Big Read program in celebration of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God with a lecture on Wednesday, February 6, at 4 p.m. The Big Read in Worcester is presented in partnership with the Worcester Public Library, Worcester Public Schools, Mechanics Hall, WICN Radio, and Friendly House. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. Worcester is one of 78 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2012 to June 2013.

The kick-off event will feature a lecture by MIT Associate Professor of English Sandy Alexandre. Dr. Alexandre’s talk is titled “Janie Mae Crawford Killicks Starks Woods: A Work in Progress.” This lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place on the WPI campus in Lower Perreault Hall of Fuller Labs.

From February 6 to March 31, our community will celebrate Their Eyes Were Watching God with a full calendar of events, including book discussions at the Worcester Public Library, Friendly House, WPI, YWCA, and other sites around Worcester; a panel discussion on domestic violence; and “An Evening of Jazz and Storytelling: Music from the 1920s and 30s and Readings from Their Eyes Were Watching God” at Mechanics Hall on March 19. This event will feature the jazz trio of Lewis Porter (piano), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), and John Lockwood (bass) and readings and vocals by Worcester singer-songwriter Lydia Fortune.

Collaborating Institutions

For over 125 years, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts has served as a life-long positive force for women and girls, their families and communities. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

The Worcester Public Library serves as a gathering place that actively promotes the free exchange of ideas in our democratic society. The Library makes information and services available to all people while fostering intellectual freedom, protecting privacy, encouraging personal growth and enrichment, and celebrating our diverse community heritage.

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Big Read Launch Annoucement:

Press Release

View a full calendar of events for The Big Read in Worcester at:

The Big Read

(Please check back, as we will be updating our calendar of events between now and the end of March.)


Our Co-Sponsors:

  • Friendly House
  • Mechanics Hall
  • WICN
  • Worcester Public Schools
  • Worceser Telegram & Gazette