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In an effort to promote literacy, encourage the reading of classic literature and expand cultural horizons, the Ada community, in partnership with East Central University, has launched “The Big Read”.

“The Big Read” community reading program, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, came from one of only two grants initiated in Oklahoma and one of only 75 nationwide.

As part of the Ada and ECU program, the focus is on Thornton Wilder’s book “The Bridge of San Luis Rey,” a Pulitzer Prize winning novel based in 18th century Peru.

ECU, the Ada Public Library and other partners are in the midst of hosting hands-on events, lectures, an exhibit and a couple of video screenings designed to provide the intertextual background necessary to more fully appreciated the thematic and cultural aspects of “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” Those attending the events can receive a free copy of the book “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” while supplies last.

Various events began in mid-January and will continue into March. Children, along with adults, can be involved in bridge building with ice cream sticks. An exhibit called “Spanish Golden Age Theatre” is on display in ECU’s Linscheid Library until March 10.

Additionally, various lectures have and will take place. Houston Mount, ECU assistant professor of history and Native American Studies, will present a lecture entitled “A Bridge to Latin America’s Past and Spanish Colonialism” on Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. at ECU’s Linscheid Library Atrium. Jon Larsen from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will present “Understanding Bridge Construction” at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Ada Public Library.

The keynote lecture will take place on March 1 with Amy Williamsen, chairman of the

Languages Department at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, presenting “A Bridge to Thornton Wilder and the Bridge of San Luis Rey” at 5:30 p.m. in the Linscheid Library. Jorge Solorzano will present a lecture on “A Bridge to Peruvian Culture” on March 10.

Two other lectures on “A Bridge to the Pulitzer Prize” and “A Bridge to the Early Disaster Epic” are set for March 8 and March 9 respectively.

The movie screening of “Bridge of San Luis Rey” will take place at the Ada Public Library at 5:30 p.m. on March 3. The movie is free and open to the public.

Various bridge building opportunities for children, and adults as well, are set for Friday, Feb. 12 from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m., and on Feb. 20 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Ada Public Library. Another bridge-building opportunity will take place on Feb. 21 from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole. Supplies for these bridge-building opportunities will be provided.

For more information on “The Big Read” contact Dr. Errol King at 580-559-5445 or at .



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