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

It is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s birth, the University of Central Florida, in conjunction with Seminole County Public Library and the Public History Center, will host a series of events during January and February 2016 centered around Hurston’s seminal text Their Eyes Were Watching God. Read more…

For more information on Hurston, visit UCF’s Zora Neale Hurston Digital Archive…

Schedule of Events

January 13 at UCF Art Gallery

Re-encounters: Literary Adaptations Through Experimental Art Creative Capital artists Christopher Harris and Eric Gottesman will discuss their work. Harris's award-winning experimental films include a long take...

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January 14 at UCF Art Gallery

Our Big Read kick-off event will be held at the UCF Art Gallery, coinciding with Zora Neale Hurston's 125th birthday, with a reception and exhibition featuring the photography by Eric Gottesman.

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January 15 at UCF Art Gallery

Join us for a guest lecture on Afro-Futurism by Dr. Julian C. Chambliss, Associate Professor of History and Director of the African and African-American Studies Program at Rollins College.

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January 16 at Enzian Theater

Join us for a screening of the 2005 screen adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Directed by Darnell Martin and produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions.

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Jan 21 to Jan 31 at Theatre UCF Main Stage

A live, theatrical production based on the original script by Zora Neale Hurston.

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January 21 at UCF Art Gallery

Zora Neale Hurston and her migration to the North and return to the Deep South inspired a collaboration between three Florida artists: Filmmaker & Multimedia Artist Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez, Choreographer &...

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January 25 at UCF Art Gallery

Join us in the UCF Art Gallery for a public lecture by Jill Jones, Professor of English at Rollins College. Jones's research interests include 19th and 20th century American literature, African American literature,...

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January 26 at UCF Art Gallery

  Be Boyd of UCF Theatre will discuss her adaptation of Spunk, a play by Zora Neale...

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January 27 at UCF Art Gallery

Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier is a versatile artist and writer who has combined her studies in history with photography to create astounding public art installations. Working with communities to celebrate their own history,...

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January 27 at UCF Art Gallery

UCF Art Gallery will host a reception for Zora! Festival of the Arts and Humanities, which includes an exhibition in the UCF John C. Hitt Library curated by Anthony Major, Program Director for the Zora Neale Hurston...

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January 28 at UCF Art Gallery

Reggie Wilson, ‘The Ring Shout', African Dance and Post-Modern Dance Reggie Wilson, Inaugural Doris Duke Artist, 2009 Herb Alpert Award recipient, 2002 Guggenheim Fellow, BESSIE- New York Dance and Performance...

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January 28 at UCF Art Gallery

Sculptor Chakaia Booker fuses ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender by recycling discarded tires into complex assemblages. Booker received a...

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January 28 at UCF Theatre

Come early for a pre-show discussion about Zora Neale Hurston, Spunk and the Harlem Literati, and Their Eyes Were Watching God (in cooperation with The Big Read at UCF)in the Black Box. Panelists include Spunk and the...

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January 29 at UCF Art Gallery

“What She Said…: Language and Cultural Barriers in the Ivory Tower.” Don’t miss award-winning performance artist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz's key note “lecture” using academic jargon outside of its intended...

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February 1 at Sanford branch of the Seminole County Public Library

Join us for a public lecture, "The Life of Zora in Sanford," presented by Mrs. Francis Oliver, coordinator of the Goldsboro...

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February 2 at UCF Art Gallery

As part of a yearlong project between multiple theaters and producers in Central Florida, Valencia College Theater is presenting this docudrama, a form of documentary theater. The play, which was developed by...

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Feb 5 to Feb 7 at Midway Safe Harbor Community Center

Featuring site-specific glass artist Therman Statom, whose primary medium is sheet glass, "New Windows Looking Back" is a weekend-long event, involving children at the Midway Safe Harbor Community Center.

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February 12 at UCF Art Gallery

Rachel Simmons lives and works in Winter Park, Florida. She holds an MFA from Louisiana State University. Since 2000 she has been actively involved in socially engaged art projects as an artist-educator at Rollins...

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February 16 at UCF Art Gallery

UCF will host a game jam and showcase at the UCF Art Gallery, featuring narrative games created by UCF digital media students.

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February 23 at Lake Mary Branch of the Seminole County Public Library

Free and open to the public. Join us for a screening of the 2005 screen adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Directed by Darnell Martin and produced by Oprah Winfrey’s...

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Youth Programs

The Big Read Programs for School Age Kids

Zora Neale Hurston collected folktales as she traveled southern back roads so that the spirit and richness of the oral storytelling tradition could be shared and preserved. Librarians will share Hurston’s tales using puppets. Related activities include science experiments and art-making. Programs will feature stories from “What’s the Hurry, Fox?,” “Lies and other Tall Tales” and “Go Gator and Muddy the Water.”


SPCL East Branch Library (Oviedo)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 • 3 p.m.
310 Division Street, Oviedo, FL 32765


SCPL Central Branch Library (Casselberry)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 • 3 p.m
215 North Oxford Road, Casselberry , FL 32707


SPCL Northwest Branch Library (Lake Mary)

Thursday, February 4, 2016 • 3 p.m
580 Green Way Boulevard, Lake Mary, FL 32746


SCPL North Branch Library (Sanford)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 • 3 p.m
150 N. Palmetto Avenue, Sanford, FL 32771


SCPL West Branch Library (Wekiva/Longwood)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 • 3 p.m.
245 N. Hunt Club Boulevard, Longwood, FL 32779

 

Book Clubs

All of Seminole County Public Library book clubs will read Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God beginning in January 2016. Clubs will host book discussions (open to the public) at the February 2016 book club meetings.


Aspire Health Partners Book Club

WednesdayJanuary 20, 2016 12 p.m.
Lakeside, 434 W Kennedy Blvd, Orlando, FL 32810

Terry Thaxton, Program Director of M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Associate Professor at UCF, will host a roundtable discussion of Their Eyes Were Watching God, focusing on the value and importance of each person’s voice as part of their community, at Aspire, an adult residential mental health center.


Southern Folk Arts Book Club

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 • 10 a.m.
TuesdayFebruary 16, 2016 10 a.m.
UCF Visual Arts Building, 12400 Aquarius Agora Drive, Orlando, FL 32816

Keri Watson, Assistant Professor of Art History, will host a book club featuring Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God for students and faculty in the School of Visual Arts & Design.


SCPL Central Branch (Casselberry) Library Book Club

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 • 6:30 p.m.
215 North Oxford Road, Casselberry , FL 32707


SPCL East Branch Library (Oviedo) Book Club

TuesdayFebruary 3, 2016 •6:30 p.m.
310 Division Street, Oviedo, FL 32765

 


SCPL West Branch (Wekiva/Longwood) Library Book Club

WednesdayFebruary 3, 2016 • 6:30 p.m.
245 N. Hunt Club Boulevard, Longwood, FL 32779


SPCL East Branch Library (Oviedo) Book Club

TuesdayFebruary 9, 2016 • 1 p.m.
310 Division Street, Oviedo, FL 32765

 


SCPL North Branch (Sanford) Library Book Club

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 • 6:30 p.m.
150 N. Palmetto Avenue, Sanford, FL 32771


SPCL Northwest Branch (Lake Mary) Library Book Club

TuesdayFebruary 23, 2016 • 12:30 p.m.
580 Green Way Boulevard, Lake Mary, FL 32746