NEA Big Read Grant

Malden Reads is honored to receive a matching grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read for their 10th anniversary year.

Malden Reads is one of only 78 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program in 2020. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest, the mission of the NEA Big Read is “to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Organizations could apply to receive as much as $15,000 in MATCHING funds and Malden Reads is grateful to be the recipient of the full amount.

Being a part of the NEA Big Read is prestigious, and as part of the nationwide program, participants will notice some differences in the Malden Reads program. In order to meet the requirements for the grant, Malden Reads will have a new special name –NEA Big Read: Malden. Applications were required to select a book from the NEA Big Read list, rather than the open selection process used in past years.

The Malden Reads team has long been planning to select a classic for the tenth year, and the team is thrilled to choose Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for the 2020 main book selection. Called ‘the book for our social media age’ by the New York Times, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a gripping story that is at once disturbing and poetic. First published in 1953, the novel explores issues of censorship, media intrusion in our lives, the invasion of privacy, and the lack of meaningful thought and connection, all eerily relevant themes in 2020. Although dystopian, the book celebrates the transformative power of books and meaningful connections among people. The NEA Big Read: Malden will explore these topics through social, cultural, and educational events.

Books will be available for circulation in early 2020 at the Malden Public Library in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish, along with digital editions, both e- and audio . In addition, companion books for younger readers have been selected and will be available at the library in early 2020.


The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection.

Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,400 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $20 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past twelve years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit