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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 20, 2012
Mary Russell, Center for the Book at the NH State Library
NH Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-2866
mary.russell@dcr.nh.gov

N.H. Reads Edgar Allan Poe in October 2012

Libraries, schools, bookstores and other organizations throughout New Hampshire will be holding events during October and early November 2012 as part of “The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads Edgar Allan Poe.”

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts that brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. In New Hampshire, the Big Read is organized by the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library, which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to coordinate the statewide effort. The project received additional support from the New Hampshire Library Association.

The Center for the Book chose to focus on Edgar Allan Poe because, as a creator of poems and stories and as a critic, Poe's work and life offer many topics for discussion and events, as well as materials that appeal to a variety of readers.

Poe is a writer to whom people have connections even if they don't realize it. Those who love detective fiction, horror stories or Hitchcock films have Poe to thank for them. By choosing Poe, the Center for the Book can take advantage of the focus on the macabre that Halloween brings to October in New Hampshire.

This is the third time New Hampshire has received a Big Read grant: previous programming focused on Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads Edgar Allan Poe” will kickoff with an October 1, 7 - 8:30 p.m. reception hosted by the Wilton Public & Gregg Free Library at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, N.H. The event will feature Michael G. Dell'Orto presenting a dramatic reading of Poe's “The Telltale Heart.”  Dell’Orto is a professional actor, director and writer who lives in Wilton Center, N.H. with his family. He appeared recently as the World Boxing Union commissioner in the film “The Fighter” with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. His credits include roles at the Peterborough Players, the Public Theatre (Maine), American Stage Festival, Olney Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lyric Stage, Charles Playhouse, Súgán Theatre, Stoneham Theatre and Worcester Foothills. He has directed plays as diverse as “Lend Me A Tenor,” “The Dining Room,” “Dracula,” “Sylvia,” “The Mousetrap,” “Dames at Sea” and “King Lear.”  Dell’Orto serves as the Area Liaison for Actors’ Equity in New England and has been a proud member of Equity since 1977.  

“The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads Edgar Allan Poe” events are scheduled throughout October and the first week of November at locations across New Hampshire in more than 80 libraries, schools and community centers. Scheduled events include the showing of classic Poe films; poem, art and story contests; book discussions; the Raven's Ball: a 19th Century Cotillion; steampunk workshops; crafts; scavenger hunts; and a variety of other events. 

New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” will feature a discussion of Poe as part of New Hampshire’s “Big Read” programming in mid-October.

For more information about “The Big Read: New Hampshire Reads Edgar Allan Poe,” including the calendar of events taking place throughout the state; links to follow the project on Twitter and Facebook; information about the many project partners; a Poe bibliography; and links to the National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read site, visit www.bigreadnh.org.

The Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library was established in 2003 to celebrate and promote reading, books, literacy and the literary heritage of New Hampshire, and to highlight the role that reading and libraries play in enriching the lives of the people of the Granite State. It is an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest.

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