SBPL Selects Santa Barbara Reads Title: An American Sunrise by United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Authored on
November 11, 2021

The Santa Barbara Public Library invites the community to read and celebrate Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise this fall as a part of this year’s annual SB Reads program — NEA Big Read: Santa Barbara Reads. Harjo’s book of poems explores Indigenous pasts, presents, and potential futures in the US, and prompts readers to unpack the impact of America's colonial history. This series of events will engage the community with local artists, poets, and writers and will invite readers to examine the world from viewpoints other than their own.

SBPL is one of 61 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2021-2022 NEA Big Read grant. An 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. This $20,000 grant will support several events in November, as well as a virtual author talk by Joy Harjo in December.

“We're inspired by the creativity of this year’s NEA Big Read grantees, who are finding new ways to bring people together after a challenging year,” said Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “We are proud to support these organizations and communities as they explore the richness and diversity of American history and culture together through reading.”

With the support of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, the Library will give away over 1,000 copies of An American Sunrise to members of the community and distribute copies of additional titles by Indigenous authors. As part of the annual Santa Barbara Reads program, this NEA Big Read invites the community to read the same book at the same time to connect with one another and engage in discussions about issues that matter.

"The Library Foundation is thrilled to help fund SB Reads for the fourth year and support an opportunity for community members to read, reflect, and discuss new viewpoints," said Lauren Trujillo, the Foundation Board’s Director.

More details about the program will become available in the coming months. Santa Barbara Reads will take place between November 1st and December 15th, 2021. Sign up for SBPL’s newsletter to keep up to date about all upcoming Library events. All Library programs and services are free and open to the public.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.