September 11, 2020

Big Read program goes virtual, brings ‘Spinning Silver’ to local readers

Purdue University’s Department of English is partnering with West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County public libraries in its Big Read program to bring Naomi Novik’s “Spinning Silver” to local readers through virtual programming.

“Spinning Silver” is a fantasy novel that re-envisions the fairy tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” interweaving it with Jewish, Russian and eastern European folklore. The novel tackles topics ranging from legacies of Jewish emigration and European anti-Semitism to coming of age, romance, the ravages of poverty and more in an engrossing fantasy world.

“Spinning Silver” was a finalist for the Nebula and Hugo awards and won the Mythopoeic Award. Novik’s work has been described by The New Times Book Review as “a perfect tale … rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin.” Novik is the New York Times bestselling and fantasy award-winning author of “Uprooted” and the historical fantasy “Temeraire” series.

Copies of “Spinning Silver” are available at all local libraries and bookstores, and the Big Read calendar of events is online. The program, running Sept. 16 through Nov. 12, will proceed in a virtual format this year. The schedule currently includes Twitter watch parties, lectures, writing workshops and trivia nights.

The English department’s Big Read, now in its fourth year, is designed to enrich Purdue and Greater Lafayette through literature. Each year, the department selects a book and creates a calendar of engaging events, including lectures, book group discussions, performances, workshops and author visits. Free copies of the text will be provided this fall to college and high school students, public and community college libraries, lifelong learning organizations and local residents. In the last four years, more than 5,000 books have been distributed. Studies show that book ownership contributes to academic achievement, educational attainment and economic development.

This year’s program is funded by private donors and a grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Writer: Christy McCarter

Faculty-Staff News

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