Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction

Between November 2021 and April 2022, Long Overdue Book Groups are participating in a series of programs focusing on three groundbreaking novels: Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, and Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World. This series, titled Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction, is part of and funded by the NEA Big Read initiative.

Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction is inspired by the multiple reckonings we continue to encounter and absorb as we imagine more flourishing, inclusive futures together. No vision for such a future can be sustained without a deep regard for how the past, with its traumas and victories, has produced our present. The texts we will explore in this series use the supernatural, magical realism, and science fiction to give life, agency, and dimension to histories that are at once unbearable and necessary for us to confront.

The series will include monthly community book group meetings (both in-person and virtually, and in both English and Spanish); access to free copies of the books (in both English and Spanish); and a series of five virtual events that coincide with the themes of these novels. Events include writing workshops (in both English and Spanish), a virtual tour of the collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, a discussion on Afrofuturism, and a workshop on oral histories. Participants in Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction are encouraged but not required to commit to reading all of the books and attending these wonderful, free public programs. You will be prompted to register for each event and each book below.

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About NEA Big Read and Other Big Read Programming in Illinois

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a partnership with Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery. Learn more about the NEA Big Read.

Since the NEA Big Read initiative began, many organizations have received funds to participate in the program. Learn more about the other organizations in Illinois that will participate in the 2021/2022 season.

About the Long Overdue Book Groups

Long Overdue Book Groups are free, community-based book groups facilitated by alumni of Illinois Humanities’ Odyssey Project and Proyecto Odisea. Each group creates a welcoming space for Chicagoans from many different backgrounds to grapple with the “long overdue” conversations that come from reading a book together. In some cases, group participants collaboratively determine what they will read for each meeting; in others, readings are predetermined by facilitators a few months in advance. Participation is open and voluntary, but most people find that regular attendance helps build a stronger sense of community and support.

Long Overdue Book Groups meet year-round across the Chicagoland area and take place in both Spanish and English.

If you are interested in participating in a Long Overdue Book Group for the series Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction, please register here.

If you want to join, start, or promote a Long Overdue Book Group, please complete this form.