Welcome to the NEA Big Read: Jersey City!

What is the NEA Big Read?

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, and is designed to broaden our understanding of the world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

How is Jersey City getting involved?

The City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, the Educational Arts Team, the Jersey City Free Public Library and 40+ community partners will host events and activities based on the featured novel, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

What’s happening in Jersey City and how can I participate?

Jersey City’s Big Read began in January 2019 with lead-up events to introduce the book title to the public. The official Big Read month kicks off on February 28, 2019 and will conclude on April 3, 3019. Programming ranges from art and storytelling workshops, visual and performing art events, story slams, literary readings, children’s activities and a book discussion with the author.

Is this appropriate for kids?

Actually, Station Eleven is not a kids book. The title is appropriate for young adults and older. That being said, our Big Read activities are all very different. Kids events use age-appropriate stories that share similar themes to Station Eleven.

The full schedule of events is posted below, as well as on the Cultural Affairs Event Calendar. You can also follow along with us on Instagram (@bigreadjc) using the hashtag #BigReadJC, or visit the Jersey City Art & Culture Facebook events page.


Full Schedule of Events:

February

Thursday, February 28 at 6:00 pm – Big Read: Jersey City Kick-Off Celebration / City Hall Chambers – 280 Grove Street, 3rd floor (snow date: March 4)

March

Tuesday, March 5 at 5:00 pm – Story Exploration: The Bremen Town Musicians / Boys & Girls Club of Jersey City (closed to members)
Wednesday, March 6 at 1:30 pm – Hook the Book / Snyder High School (closed to students and faculty)
Thursday, March 7 at 6 pm – Wherefore Art? Opening Reception / Village West Gallery – 331 Newark Avenue
Thursday, March 7 at 11:50 am – Hook the Book / Ferris High School (closed to students and faculty)
Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 pm – Story Slam / Art House Productions – 272 17th Street
Monday, March 11 at 1:30 pm – Hook the Book / Snyder High School (closed to students and faculty)
Tuesday, March 12 at 6:00 pm – Reflection: Station Eleven / Morgan Branch – 1841 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 pm – Lecture: Why We Can’t Put Dystopian Fiction Down / Apple Tree House – 298 Academy Street
Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30 pm – Family Community Evening: Survival Techniques / Liberty Science Center – 222 Jersey City Boulevard
Wednesday, March 13 at 6:00 pm – Reflection: Station Eleven / Main Library/Biblioteca Criolla – 472 Jersey Avenue
Thursday, March 14 at 6:00 pm – Reflection: Station Eleven / Heights Branch – 14 Zabriskie Street
Friday, March 15 at 7:00 pm – Story Slam / Moore’s Lounge – postponed: check back for updates
Tuesday, March 19 at 7:00 pm – Story Slam / Brightside Tavern – 141 Bright Street
Wednesday, March 20 at 11:00 am – Survival is Not Enough: Panel Discussion / New Jersey City University – 100 Culver Avenue, Room #08
Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 pm – Literary Reading: Jersey City Writers / Apple Tree House – 298 Academy Street
Thursday, March 21 at 12:00 pm – Reflection: Station Eleven / Hudson County Community College – 70 Sip Avenue
Wednesday, March 27 at 6:00 pm – Preparedness and Survival for Small Business / Dante Alighieri Society – 562 Summit Avenue
Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00 pm – Creative Response/Parlour Event: Jersey City Heights Book Club / Froth on Franklin – 85 Franklin Street
Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 pm – Story Slam / Fox & Crow – 594 Palisade Avenue
Friday, March 29 at 7:00 pm – Jersey City Film Scramble Kick-Off Party / &CO – 201 Montgomery Street, 2nd floor
Saturday, March 30 at 11:00 am – Reflection: Station Eleven / Liberty State Park Terminal – 1 Audrey Zapp Drive
Sunday, March 31 at 10:00 pm – Talk Back / Shakespeare@ (following the 7:00 pm performance of Hamlet) – 39 Erie Street

April

Monday, April 1 at TIME TBD – Jersey City Film Scramble Screening Party / LOCATION TBD
Wednesday, April 3 at 6:00 pm – Author Discussion with Emily St. John Mandel with WORD Bookstores / New Jersey City University School of Business – 200 Hudson Street 

**Want to know more about Emily’s inspirations behind the themes? Want to dive a little deeper into your favorite chapter? Click here to submit your question for Emily and it will be part of this exciting book discussion!**

Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 pm – Poetry Slam with JC Slam / LITM- 140 Newark Ave


Reflection: Station Eleven

Join the Educational Arts Team for a Reflection: Station Eleven workshop, where we will lead readers of Station Eleven on a review and reflection of some of the themes and characters they encountered in this powerful novel on survival in a precarious future.


Story Slams

As part of this, in March 2019, Jersey City will be holding a citywide series of Story Slams, similar to the popular event, the Moth.

Five evening-length events will be held at popular venues throughout Jersey City, including Art House Productions (March 9), Brightside Tavern (March 19) and Fox & Crow (March 28). Story Slams will showcase the real-life stories of a cross-section of Jersey City residents.

You know who you are! You’re the one who tells a great story at a party, has a friend in stitches over drinks, livens up your co-workers’ day, captivates your family at the dinner table…

Stories should be told in 5 – 15 minutes, and should be related in some way to one the following themes:

  • Survival, and what it means
  • A stranger that ended up playing a role in your life
  • Communication when technology fails
  • The spread of fear
  • The night that changed everything
  • The arts endure

Writing and storytelling styles can vary widely – from poetic to comedic to straightforward. We are mostly looking for stories that that show us something touching, insightful, humorous, or meaningful about ourselves, others, and the human experience.

To submit entries in advance, please email bigreadstoryslam@gmail.com, or stop into a Slam and sign up on the spot!


Why We Can’t Put Dystopian Fiction Down? – Apple Tree House Lecture

The City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, the Educational Arts Team and the Jersey City Free Public Library are proud to present “Why We Can’t Put Dystopian Fiction Down,” a public scholar lecture part of the Big Read. Associate Professor at Montclair State University, Laura Nicosia, Ph.D., will discuss the themes of Station Eleven, the topic of dystopic fiction, and more!

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and requires advanced registration. Please click here to reserve your spot. For questions, please call the Office of Cultural Affairs at (201) 547-6921.

This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Survival is not Enough: Reflections on the Importance of the Arts & Humanities in the Modern World

Presented by the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, the Educational Arts Team, the Jersey City Free Public Library and New Jersey City University presents “Survival is Not Enough,” a panel discussion responding to the themes of survival and the arts found in the novel by Emily St. John Mandel and explore the importance of the arts and humanities in contemporary society. The discussion will be followed by an opening reception at 1:00 pm.

This event is free and open to the public, but requires advanced registration. Click here to reserve your spot.


Meet the Author

Please join us on Wednesday, April 3 at 6:00 pm in welcoming Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven for the Big Read finale! This event will be held at the NJCU School of Business at Harborside 2 (200 Hudson Street).

**Want to know more about Emily’s inspirations behind the themes? Want to dive a little deeper into your favorite chapter? Click here to submit your question for Emily and it will be part of this exciting book discussion!**

After the month-long series of Station Eleven-themed events, this discussion with the author will be an opportunity for participants to chat with the author in an intimate book discussion setting. The evening will also be marked by a special performance by Cantigas Women’s Choir.

This event is free and open to the public, but requires advanced registration. Click here to reserve your spot.


Hook the Book Workshops:

In partnership with the City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs and the Jersey City Free Public Library, the Educational Arts Team will host engaging art and storytelling workshops based on the novel, Station Eleven, as part of the NEA Big Read: Jersey City. Hook the Book workshops incorporate drama-based learning techniques to create engaging content and art, while bringing written word to life.

Most workshops are free and open to the public, and participants will receive a free copy of the novel. Click through the Eventbrite links below to reserve your spot:


Story Exploration – Children’s Events:

In partnership with the City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs and the Jersey City Free Public Library, the Educational Arts Team invites young readers to participate in a series of art and story telling activities exploring the delightful tale of The Bremen Town Musicians.

Each workshop is free and open to the public, and recommended for children ages 6-10.


Art & Story Telling Workshops:

In partnership with the City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs and the Jersey City Free Public Library, the Educational Arts Team encourages readers to get their creative juices flowing! Using art, imagination and storytelling, leaders will guide particpants to create art based on themes of the novel, Station Eleven.

Most workshops are free and open to the public, and participants will receive a free copy of the novel. Click through the Eventbrite links below to reserve your spot:


Previous Events in 2019

January

Saturday, January 12 at 1:00 pm – Story Exploration: The Bremen Town Musicians / Five Corners Library
Wednesday, January 16 at 5:30 pm – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Family Partners of Hudson County
Saturday, January 19 at 11 am – Hook the Book / Liberty State Park Terminal
Saturday, January 19 at 11 am – Story Exploration: The Bremen Town Musicians / Liberty State Park Terminal
Wednesday, January 23 at 6:30 pm – Hook the Book / Main Library/Biblioteca Criolla
Saturday, January 26 at 1:00 pm – Story Exploration: The Bremen Town Musicians / Main Library/Biblioteca Criolla
Wednesday, January 30 – Life Skills Group / Haven Adolescent Community Respite Center (closed to members)

February

Saturday, February 2 at 12:00 pm – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Miller Branch
Monday, February 4 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / Pavonia Branch
Tuesday, February 5 at 4:00 pm – Story Exploration: The Bremen Town Musicians / JC Housing Authority
Wednesday, February 6 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / Miller Branch (Greenville)
Thursday, February 7 at 12:00 pm – Hook the Book / Hudson County Community College (closed to members)
Monday, February 11 at 3:15 pm – Hook the Book / Dickinson High School
Wednesday, February 13 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / Cunningham Library
Thursday, February 14 at 6:30 pm – Hook the Book / Heights Branch
Tuesday, February 19 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / Morgan Branch
Wednesday, February 20 at 10:30 am – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Joseph Connors Senior Center (closed to members)
Wednesday, February 20 at 1:30 pm – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Maureen Collier Senior Center (closed to members)
Saturday, Wednesday 23 at 12:30 pm – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Camp Liberty
Monday, February 25 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / Five Corners Library
Tuesday, February 26 at 6:00 pm – Art & Story Telling Workshop / Main Library
Tuesday, February 26 at 6:00 pm – Hook the Book / JC Housing Authority @ Holland Gardens
Thursday, February 28 at 6:00 pm – Big Read: Jersey City Kick-Off Celebration / City Hall Chambers (snow date: March 4)