This year's selection is The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, by Dinaw Mengestu.
This novel tells the fictional account of an Ethiopian immigrant living in Washington, D.C. The protagonist deals with the trauma of leaving his homeland, the struggle to find success and love in America, and the adjustment to gentrification in the neighborhood that has been his new home. The NEA Big Read Program in LA will address these timely and resonant themes through its engagement with this award-winning literary work. Topics to be explored include displacement, identity, cultural convergence, memory, and the American Dream.
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears offers a unique educational platform to inspire community discussions about the transformation that is occurring in Los Angeles due to urban redevelopment, and to foster creative participation through cultural and recreational events. All events are free and open to the public, and offerings include reading groups and discussion forums throughout the City's 73 libraries.
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. The Big Read Program in Los Angeles is coordinated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.