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Shelton McMurphey Johnson House and Wordcrafters Partner for Community Reading Events

The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our neighbors, and ourselves through the power of shared reading experiences

EUGENE, Ore. – Shelton McMurphey Johnson House and Wordcrafters in Eugene are partnering on a community book reading event, The Big Read, supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.

From November 2023 to March 2024, both organizations will host meetings and workshops throughout Eugene and Springfield to facilitate reading, talking about, and creating art around Roz Chast’s graphic novel memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Eugene/Springfield is one of 62 communities nationwide participating in the 2023-2024 NEA Big Read. 

Chast’s memoir perfectly blends wit and solemnity as she describes her struggle to take care of her aging parents, who would very much prefer not to discuss the subject of anything relating to mortality. 

The Big Read project is a national effort funded by the National Endowment of the Arts which seeks to bolster community connections and inspire meaningful conversations through community reading events focused on books from authors of many different backgrounds and genres. The Lane County Big Read event is perfect for families, friends, and bookworms from all walks of life!

Events include November’s kick-off event, book and panel discussions, an author talk, and workshops for adults and youth.

November 28, 2023, 5-7 p.m. 

Kick-Off Event

Springfield Library, 225 5th St Suite 301, Springfield, OR 97477

Get your free book, hear UO Professor Alisa Freeman speak about the importance and impact of comics and cartoons on our culture, and contribute to a community poem that will be performed by spoken word artist and Wordcrafter Jorah LaFleur.

Free

Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, 4-6 p.m. 

Book Discussion: How Do We Process Grief?

Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, 303 Willamette St, Eugene, OR 97401

A discussion about grief, loss, and how we cope.

Free

January 20, 2024, noon

Author Visit with Roz Chast on Zoom, emceed by J.C. Geiger

Wordcrafters in Eugene, 436 Charnelton St., Ste 100, Eugene OR 97401

Eugene author J.C. Geiger will interview the dazzling Roz Chast over Zoom as she discusses her memoir and answers audience questions. Join the watch party at the Wordcrafters studio.

Free. 

Registration required: https://wordcrafters.org/big-read-2023-meet-the-author/ 

January 25, 2024, 6-8 p.m. 

Thumbnailing Scenes: Comics and Graphic Novels workshop with Jen Hernandez

Wordcrafters in Eugene, 436 Charnelton St., Ste 100, Eugene OR 97401

Learn how to turn a story scene into a comic or graphic novel. Brilliant artistry is less important than understanding how to turn mood, pacing, and tone into a visual representation.

Pay from your heart pricing: $52-$86

Registration required: https://wordcrafters.org/january-write-club-for-grown-ups-thumbnailing-scenes-in-graphic-novel-and-comics/ 

January 27, 2024, 12-2 p.m.

Book Discussion

River Road Community Center Annex, 1055 River Rd, Eugene, OR 97404

A discussion about grief, loss, and how we cope.

Free.

February 8, 2024, 12-2 p.m. 

Panel Discussion: Can’t it all just go away?

Campbell Community Center, 155 High St, Eugene, OR 97401

What happens to all of our things when we are unable to house them anymore? How do we cope with the YEARS of accumulation, memories, and honestly, just plain junk? Is it junk? How do we know? How do we make sure it doesn’t end up in the landfill? Join us for this informative panel of local experts as they explain the options we have with all of that stuff we have to cope with as we downsize or pass on.

Free.

February 17, 2024, 12-2 p.m.

Book Discussion

Fern Ridge Library, 88026 Territorial Hwy, Veneta, OR 97487

A discussion about grief, loss, and how we cope.

Free.

February 27, 2024, 5-7 p.m. 

Book Discussion: Shapes of Grief with Jo Bartlett,

Springfield Library, 225 5th St Suite 301, Springfield, OR 97477

Join advanced grief recovery method specialist, writer, and Wordcrafter Jo Bartlett to talk about the many ways we experience loss and the shapes those experiences take. 

Free.

February 29, 2024, 6-8 p.m. 

Have the Last Laugh: Humor Writing workshop with Sarina Dorie

Wordcrafters in Eugene, 436 Charnelton St., Ste 100, Eugene OR 97401

What makes writing funny? Learn how to write humor that leaves your readers laughing. 

At this Write Club for Grown Ups with author Sarina Dorie, you’ll learn how to identify and break down humor in writing. And then learn to create it yourself.

Pay from your heart pricing: $52-$86

Registration required: https://wordcrafters.org/february-write-club-for-grown-ups-save-the-last-laugh/

March 4, 2024, 4-6 p.m. 

Big Reads Youth Event with Jen Hernandez!

Ophelia’s Place, 1577 Pearl St STE 100, Eugene, OR 97401

March 7, 2024, 6-8 p.m. 

Book Discussion: Reading Like a Writer Edition! with Mia Bowman at Wordcrafters

Wordcrafters in Eugene, 436 Charnelton St., Ste 100, Eugene OR 97401

Reading Like a Writer–Craft of Writing: Using Humor, Comics. How can use humor and graphics to not only write great stories, but also cope with the hard balls life throws our way. Learn more here.

Free. 

Registration required: https://wordcrafters.org/the-big-read-reading-like-a-writer-edition/ 

March 19, 2024, 4-6 p.m. 

Book Discussion

Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, 303 Willamette St, Eugene, OR 97401

Free.

For more information, visit: wordcrafters.org/big-read/ and smjhouse.org/events/bigread2023/ 

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About The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read—a partnership with Arts Midwest—broadens our understanding of our world, our neighbors, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community.

About Wordcrafters in Eugene

Wordcrafters in Eugene is a nonprofit literary arts organization celebrating 10 years of helping writers find their voice and tell their story. 

Our mission: to provide writers with opportunities to strengthen their craft, deepen their connection with literature, and share their knowledge with each other and with future generations

Instagram/Facebook: @Wordcrafters

wordcrafters.org

About Shelton McMurphey Johnson House

SMJ House is a Victorian House Museum. Our mission is to preserve the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House for the benefit of current and future generations. In doing so, we will be our community’s storyteller through the lens of inclusive historic preservation.