The First Innovations in Reading Prize, Application Now Available

A reprint of a press release of interest.

Each year, the National Book Foundation will award a number of prizes of up to $2,500 each to individuals and institutions–or partnerships between the two–that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading.

In addition to promoting the best of American literature through the National Book Awards, the Foundation also seeks to expand the audience for literature in America. Through the Innovations in Reading Prizes, those individuals and organizations that use particularly innovative methods to generate excitement and a passionate engagement with books and literature will be rewarded for their creativity and leadership.

The Big Read Announces Grant Opportunities

A reprint of a press release of interest.

The NEA has a new grant opportunity to celebrate poetry in your community! We are proud to announce the expansion of The Big Read to include three poets featured in our American Literary Landmarks program—Emily Dickinson, Robinson Jeffers, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts—in partnership with the Poetry Foundation—created a new component of The Big Read called American Literary Landmarks that celebrated three of the nation’s historic poetry sites: the Emily Dickinson Museum, Robinson Jeffers’s Tor House, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. The Big Read programming in 2009-2010 expands reading choices beyond books to include these three poets and their works. The deadline for applications is February 3, 2009. Please see below and at www.NEABigRead.org for the full guidelines.

NEH Encourages Educators to Apply for 2009 Summer Programs in the Humanities

A reprint of a press release of interest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 3, 2008)—American educators across the country are encouraged to apply now for 2009 summer study opportunities in the humanities. Each summer, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports rigorous national, residential seminars, institutes, and workshops located in the United States and abroad. Program participants receive stipends to help defray travel and living expenses.

Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy

Reading levels are on the rise according to a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts. Here is a brief excerpt from the Preface by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia:

Reading on the Rise, the National Endowment for the Arts’ new report, documents a significant turning point in recent American cultural history. For the first time in over a quarter-century, our survey shows that literary reading has risen among adult Americans. After decades of declining trends, there has been a decisive and unambiguous increase among virtually every group measured in this comprehensive national survey.

ALSC Officer Contributes to National Conversation on Workforce Reduction

New York Times reporter Matt Richtel has interviewed ALSC Secretary-Treasurer William Flesch for an article on alternatives to workforce reduction in the current economy. Speaking in his capacity as head of the faculty senate at Brandeis University, Flesch is quoted on his suggestion that the school’s faculty give up 1 percent of their pay. “What we are doing is a symbolic gesture that has real consequences — it can save a few jobs . . . It’s not painless, but it is relatively painless and it could help some people.”

Read the full article here.

Call for Papers: Gulliver’s Travels

A message from Ignatius Critical Editions series editor Joseph Pearce.

We are looking for critical essays for the forthcoming Ignatius Critical Edition of Gulliver’s Travels. The first three titles in this new series of critical editions were published this Spring (King Lear, Frankenstein, and Wuthering Heights). The second and third batches are already being edited (Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Merchant of Venice, Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, and The Romantic Poets) and we are now ready to accept essays for the edition of Gulliver’s Travels.

ALSC Members Selected as National Book Award Finalists

Three ALSC members were recently named finalists for the 2008 National Book Award for poetry: Frank Bidart for Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Reginald Gibbons for Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press), and Richard Howard for Without Saying (Turtle Point Press). Winners will be announced in each of the categories (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature) on Wednesday, November 19 at the 59th National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.  Morgan Entrekin, Sonny Mehta, Lynn Nesbit and Holly Peterson are chairing the event, and Eric Bogosian will emcee.

New NEH Funding for Courses on Enduring Questions

What is the good life? What is friendship? What is good government? Is there a human nature, and, if so, what is it? What are the limits of science? Enduring questions such as these have long held interest to college students and allow for a special, intense dialogue across generations.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has recently launched “Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants.” This new grant program will support college faculty from any discipline with up to $25,000 to develop and to teach a new undergraduate humanities course that addresses questions like these.

A Look Back: Shakespeare After Shakespeare at the 2007 ALSC Conference

This is part one of a retrospective on the 2007 ALSC Conference in Chicago. To learn more about our upcoming conference in Philadelphia, visit http://www.bu.edu/literary/conferences/.

Anston Bosman speaks during the Shakespeare After Shakespeare session at the 2007 ALSC Conference