The Big Read 2014


The University of Redlands, in partnership with the A.K. Smiley Public Library and Crafton Hills College, will launch its Big Read program in celebration of Rudolfo Anaya’s “Bless Me, Ultima” with a community gathering and discussion on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

The kick-off event will feature music and dance as well a conversation led by Carlos E. Cortés, professor emeritus of history at University of California, Riverside. The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Orton Center at the University of Redlands. Refreshments will be served.

The coming-of-age tale “Bless Me, Ultima” was first published in 1972, and has since sold nearly 500,000 copies. From March 1 to April 19, the community will celebrate the book with a full calendar of events including discussions, a movie series, and other relevant activities.

“I am delighted that we can be part of a program that encourages a community to come together to talk about both a specific book as well as the importance of reading,” Leela MadhavaRau, associate dean for Campus Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Redlands, said. “Over the past few years as I read about fewer Americans reading, I have become more passionate about the need to get books into people’s hands and re-ignite the love of words that is innate in us all.”

Participants can pick up copies of “Bless Me, Ultima” at each Big Read event, as well as the A.K. Smiley Public Library and the Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion inside Hunsaker Center at the University of Redlands.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. Redlands is one of 77 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2013 to June 2014.

For more information, contact MadhavaRau at 909-748-8285 or

Posted: Feb. 20, 2014

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