The Big Read kickoff event unfolds Jan. 9

Courtesy photo 
Kids in Tori Christman’s third-grade class at Enterprise Elementary School react with excitement as books are delivered to the schools by Fishtrap Program Manager Mike Midlo playing literary Santa Claus. Local sponsorships and individual donations provide more than 400 books to schools and libraries throughout the Wallowa Valley, including a companion book for young readers.
Courtesy photo  Kids in Tori Christman’s third-grade class at Enterprise Elementary School react with excitement as books are delivered to the schools by Fishtrap Program Manager Mike Midlo playing literary Santa Claus. Local sponsorships and individual donations provide more than 400 books to schools and libraries throughout the Wallowa Valley, including a companion book for young readers.

Courtesy photo
Kids in Tori Christman’s third-grade class at Enterprise Elementary School react with excitement as books are delivered to the schools by Fishtrap Program Manager Mike Midlo playing literary Santa Claus. Local sponsorships and individual donations provide more than 400 books to schools and libraries throughout the Wallowa Valley, including a companion book for young readers.

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What: The Big Read kickoff

• When: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9

• Where: Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, 403 N. Main St., Joseph

• Details: Jay Jennings is coming from Arkansas to talk about “True Grit” author, Charles Portis

• Full schedule: The full schedule for The Big Read can be accessed at www. fishtrap.org.

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By Katy Nesbitt

Go! staff

Wallowa County rings in the New Year with The Big Read and “True Grit” by Charles Portis.

The Big Read kicks off from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, 403 N. Main St., Joseph, with a display of local Western gear and presentation by Jay Jennings, a Charles Portis expert from Arkansas, where the story is set.

Last year’s Fishtrap chose “A River Runs Through It” for its community read and did not partner with the National Endowment for the Arts as in years past, but this year it returns to The Big Read format.

For seven weeks, lectures, book discussions and movie screenings will enhance The Big Read experience as well as the Battle of the Book, a game-show competition pitting teams against each other with a real, live buzzer and prizes for the winners.

The finale is Feb. 16 with Western storyteller Rick Steber, a Dutch-oven cooking contest and local music.

All events are free and open to the public except the finale.

From the moment it was published, Portis’s “True Grit” earned acclaim from critics as a classic Western tale. In the decades since, readers of all ages have fallen in love with the indelible voice of Mattie Ross as she recounts her youthful quest to avenge the murder of her father with the aid of down-on-his-heels federal marshal Rooster Cogburn.

Readers discover the rich humor, inventive prose and compelling characters that have made “True Grit” a masterpiece of American storytelling.

Local sponsorships and individual donations provide more than 400 books to school and libraries throughout the Wallowa Valley. This year’s companion book for young readers is “The Ballad of Lucy Whipple” by Jeremy Kagan.

Fishtrap is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host The Big Read project.

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