Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Eau Claire Big Read Kickoff Saturday, April 5

Join us as we kick off the 2008 Eau Claire Big Read on Saturday, April 5 at 11am at LE Phillips Memorial Public Library. The event begins the month-long community reading and discussion of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon." Eau Claire city manager Mike Huggins and Julie Rivett, Hammett's granddaughter, will welcome participants and introduce the work. The public and media are invited to attend this free event and receive their complimentary copies of "The Maltese Falcon."

In addition to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, this year the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation has made a substantial donation to help purchase copies of the book to distribute to the public.

The Big Read is a nationwide initiative of the NEA, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, to encourage reading for all ages. The event asks community members to read and discuss their city's chosen book for a month. Eau Claire is one of only three cities in Wisconsin selected to receive a grant and participate this year.

"The Maltese Falcon" was chosen by a committee of event organizers from a list of 16 books. The book is a mystery, a thriller, a dark, dry comedy and a love story. Independent detective Samuel Spade is hired by a mysterious woman to help find her sister. The same night, his partner and a thug are killed. Suddenly, Spade's innocence is questioned. To prove his innocence, Spade risks danger and death. "The Maltese Falcon" has been said to have perfected the American private-eye genre.

Many events will be held throughout April to supplement and encourage reading. A full list of events appears at

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