NEA Big Read Program

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read 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. This year we are excited to be reading Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. We hope you’ll read along with us, and join us for the community discussions!

Below is a preliminary schedule of activities associated with the 2021 Big Read program of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ). All events are virtual. The program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) administered by Arts Midwest (based in Minneapolis).

Description of Into the Beautiful North http://luisurrea.com/books/into-the-beautiful-north/


Wednesday, May 5
, 4:00 p.m. Kickoff event; description of the program, information about book distribution, brief talk by Mazahir Salih (director of CWJ), and previews of later presentations (by Chuy Renteria and Miriam Alarcón Avíla)

Register for this event here


Friday May 7, 3:30 presentation by Cristina Ortiz about her research in Columbus Junction, Iowa among Latinx and Burmese immigrants, co-sponsored by Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa https://academics.morris.umn.edu/cristina-ortiz

Register for this event here


May 8 – May 21, three week book discussion program for high school students, curriculum
designed by staff of the University of Iowa Youth writing program
Thursday, May 13, 4:00 p.m. – presentation by Janet Weaver, at University of Iowa libraries, about extensive archive including oral histories about Mexican immigration to Iowa , emphasis on work http://migration.lib.uiowa.edu/ , co-sponsored by University of Iowa Libraries, Department of History, University of Iowa, and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) of Iowa

Register for this event here

Wednesday, May 26, 7:00 p.m, book discussion of Into the Beautiful North led by staff at
Coralville public library


Thursday. May 27, 7:00 p.m. reading and discussion with Chuy Renteria of his forthcoming
book from University of Iowa Press about Latinx immigrant experiences of himself and others in West Liberty, Iowa, co-sponsored by Prairie Lights bookstore, Iowa City
https://obermann.uiowa.edu/people/jesus-chuy-renteria

Register for this event here



Saturday, June 5, 1:00 p.m. – “Immigrant Luchadores,” a presentation and discussion with local photographer Miriam Alarcón Avíla, https://www.miriamalarconavila.com/index co-sponsored by Hancher Auditorium

Register for this event here


Thursday, June 10, 7:00 p,m, book discussion of Into the Beautiful North led by staff at North Liberty public library

This event will take place IN PERSON at the North Liberty Community Center patio. Register here for the discussion and a free copy of the book.


Tuesday, June 15, 7:00 p.m. book discussion of Into the Beautiful North led by staff at Iowa City Public library

Register for this event here

Wednesday, June 16, 7:00 p.m. reading and discussion with Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North, co-sponsored by Prairie Lights bookstore, Iowa City http://luisurrea.com/

Register for this event here

Saturday, June 19, 11:00 a.m. two-hour writing workshops, led by members of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program

Please contact andrew-tan-dellicicchi@uiowa.edu to participate or register here