NEA Big Read

The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for Arts (NEA), is a community reading program designed around a single book. Our literary partner Montgomery Community Media (MCM) is among 75 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host the NEA Big Read project in our community from April to June 2018.

FOLMC, a lead partner organization with MCPL, hosted numerous events and book discussions centered on the debut novel of Ethiopian author Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. This award-winning book captures immigrant life and was used as a way to promote discussions relevant to the Montgomery County immigrant experience. Check out the book at MCPL or visit our bookstores to purchase.

Author talks, lively cultural celebrations, and other activities including music and food in a variety of venues were held throughout the county.

Big Read Events Highlights

Coffee Ceremony
The Ethiopian ceremony was held at our Wheaton Bookstore in partnership with Blessed Coffee. View photos of the coffee ceremony below
NEA Big Read Coffee Ceremony 2018


Closing Ceremony
If you missed award-winning author and MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Dinaw Mengestu speak about his inspiration for his work The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, watch the video here:

Sponsored by FOLMC, MCPL, and Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter.


MCPL Book Discussion Group

Check out the MCPL NEA Big Read calendar and see when you can join the discussion here.

Purchase the Book

We have new and used copies available at our bookstores.

Want it delivered straight to your door? Purchase The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears through our Amazon Associates link and FOLMC will receive a portion of the sales.

FOLMC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

 Additional NEA Big Read Books

Click here to see the entire NEA Big Read book list. Visit our bookstores for more NEA Big Read books.