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The Big Read announces $1 million in grants for 2013-14

The Big Read announces $1 million in grants for 2013-14
With a grant from the Big Read, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs will encourage reading of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The National Endowment for the Arts announced $1 million in grants for the Big Read projects taking place across the U.S. in 2013-14.

The Big Read was launched in 2005 to help create one-city-one-book-style projects; for each title on its list, it offers reading guides, discussion questions, and other supporting materials -- as well as grants, which in this round range from $3,000 to $17,300.

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Grants are made to nonprofits in communities that, in addition to promote reading the books, plan a range of activities around them. Seventy-seven community organizations will get the Big Read grants, with 24 receiving them for the first time.

One repeat recipient is the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. With its grant, it will encourage Angelenos to read "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri. Books that have previously been promoted by the Big Read in greater L.A. include "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett and Rudolfo Anaya's "Bless Me, Ultima."

"The Namesake" is one of three titles that were added to the possible list of books this year; the others were "Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea and "True Grit" by Charles Portis.

In all, there are 30 possible works and authors that nonprofits can design projects around. They include Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson, the poetry of Robinson Jeffers, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451."

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