Read Across Lawrence

2020 Big Read / Read Across Lawrence

Because of the unpredictability of COVID, please check back for new information on book talks and added programs!

Imagine More.

When we read the same story together, we can focus on the similarities of our human experience. It endears us to each other, builds empathy, and ultimately a stronger community.

Brad Allen, Library Director

Image credit: Ulf Anderson

2020 Adult Pick — The Round House

by Louise Erdrich

One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love MedicineThe Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture. The Round House won the National Book Award for fiction.

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

SOURCE:, opens a new window

Online Events

2020 Youth Picks

Author Profiles

About the NEA Big Read/Read Across Lawrence

Literature is the tie that binds. Once a year, Lawrence comes together as a community to read the same book and explore its major themes with discussions and interactive programs. Read Across Lawrence (RAL) promotes literacy, fosters community and provides common ground for intergenerational, cross-cultural and civic-minded educational discussions. It's also, to put it simply, a really fun and social way to get the most out of a book. Let's read together!

Broadening the audience. In 2012, Lawrence Public Library expanded their RAL program to include a teen and kid selection. A variety of programs and events specific to these age groups runs parallel throughout Read Across Lawrence.

Book Giveaway + Events. Along with our partners, we distribute 1,000 free copies of each book and invite community institutions to host discussions and events for thousands of Lawrencians of all ages and backgrounds throughout our city.

NEA Big Read/Read Across Lawrence is an opportunity for the Lawrence community to read a novel and engage in community discussions and events surrounding the issues and themes presented in The Round House. Programming and books are provided in thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest as part of their Big Read initiative.

The NEA Big Read/Read Across Lawrence is a partnership between Lawrence Public Library, The Lawrence Public Library Friends and Foundation, KU Libraries, Haskell Indian Nations University, the Raven Book Store, The Willow, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

For more information about the Big Read please visit

Past Selections and Events

2019 | Sourdough, opens a new window by Robin Sloan
2018 | Wonder, opens a new window by R.J. Palacio
2017 | In the Time of the Butterflies, opens a new window by Julia Alvarez
2016 | The Martian, opens a new window by Andy Weir
2015 | The Handmaid's Tale, opens a new window by Margaret Atwood
2014 | Housekeeping, opens a new window by Marilynne Robinson
2013 | The Worst Hard Time, opens a new window by Timothy Egan
2012 | Winter's Bone, opens a new window by Daniel Woodrell
2011 | To Kill A Mockingbird, opens a new window by Harper Lee
2010 | Dreams From My Father, opens a new window by Barack Obama | Kansas Reads
2009 | The Virgin of Small Plains, opens a new window by Nancy Pickard | Kansas Reads
2008 | Kansas Curiosities, opens a new window by Pam Grout
2007 | Revolutionary Heart, opens a new window by Diane Eickhoff
2006 | The Center of Everything, opens a new window by Laura Moriarty
2005 | Blue Horses Rush in, opens a new window by Luci Tapahanso

For more information about Adults Read Across Lawrence contact:

Kristen Soper
Programs + Events Coordinator
785-843-3833 x 122

For more information about Teens + Kids Read Across Lawrence contact:

Karen Allen
Youth Services Coordinator
785-843-3833 x 121

2020 RAL logo suite
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