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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Russell County library celebrates The Big Read

Ron Rash
Ron Rash

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | January 30, 2019

The Russell County Public Library launches its NEA Big Read program ‘Exploring Appalachia’ with “Burning Bright” by Ron Rash with an Appalachian Open Mic Night on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Russell County Conference Center. The kick-off event features music by local musicians in genres such as bluegrass, gospel, old-time and more. Free copies of “Burning Bright” will be available.

“Burning Bright” reflects contemporary life in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The library hopes that choosing a title with stories set in our mountains will resonate with the community and provide enough distance to talk more objectively about who we are, about our culture and the commonality of the human spirit.

Russell County is one of 79 communities nationwide participating in the NEA Big Read from September 2018 through June 2019. From Feb. 9 through March 12, the county celebrates with a full calendar of free events and featured events.

A free orchestra concert is held at Lebanon High School Little Theatre March 2 at 7 p.m., presented by the Heart of Appalachia Community Orchestra with music inspired by Appalachian folk tunes.

A talk and reading by author Ron Rash, a native of the Southern Appalachians, is held at the Russell County Conference Center on March 7 at 7 p.m.

In addition, book discussions are held weekly at local restaurants and the libraries in Honaker and Lebanon. “Images of Appalachia,” a film series, is held weekends at both libraries.

A national 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 NEA Big Read in Russell County is presented in partnership with Heart of Appalachia Community Orchestra, The Lebanon News and Russell County Public Schools.

For more information on this event, contact Kelly McBride Delph, library director. You also can view a full calendar of events for the NEA Big Read in Russell County at

Topics: L, Literature