A national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.
Farmers Branch Manske Library is one of 79 organizations to receive funding for a dynamic community reading program. The activities, programs, and special events will center around the themes of art and survival. The book selection for this NEA Big Read program is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
The Book Selection
Emily St. John Mandel examines the themes of art, fame, ambition, and survival in her novel Station Eleven.
The story begins on a snowy night in Toronto as a famous, aging actor dies on stage during a production of King Lear. On this same night, a flu epidemic begins sweeping across all nations of the world. Years in the future, a theater troupe called The Travelling Symphony wanders throughout the post-apocalyptic wasteland bringing art and culture to the few remaining survivors of the Georgia Flu pandemic.
Moving fluidly between past, present, and future, Station Eleven examines the twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Travelling Symphony.
Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, The Singer's Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.