International Festival of Arts & Ideas Launches The Big Read


Contact: Anthony Lupinacci
Director of Public Relations, Shubert Theater
Tel. 203.624.1825

International Festival of Arts & Ideas Launches The Big Read - Greater New Haven With a Free Kick-Off Celebration On Thursday, May 1 at 5:00pm At the Shubert Theater

Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" creates central theme for various FREE activities planned from May 1 through June 28, 2008 to encourage literary reading in the Greater New Haven Region

(New Haven, CT . . . April 17, 2008) Mary Lou Aleskie, Executive Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, has announced the line-up of activities that will be part of the Festival's The Big Read program, presented in collaboration with the Connecticut Library Consortium. This national initiative, created by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Arts Midwest, encourages literary reading by asking communities to come together to read and discuss one book. After more than 50 years, "Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury's cautionary tale of book-burnings and state-enforced thought control, still strikes a nerve. This chilling science fiction tale has been selected as Greater New Haven's focus book and will serve as the inspiration for The Big Read's events running through the Festival.

In 2007, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas debuted The Big Read in New Haven using Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" as its focus book - the program engaged 50 community partners and more than 14,000 participants. Building upon its 2007 experience, the Festival will expand The Big Read in 2008 to reach 19 additional towns within the Greater New Haven region. This expansion will be supported by the Connecticut Library Consortium, a 900-member organization serving libraries throughout CT.

The Festival launches this year's Big Read on Thursday, May 1 at 5:00pm with a FREE Kick-off Celebration at the Shubert Theater. Featured speaker, scholar Mark Schenker, will moderate an exciting talk inspired by "Fahrenheit 451's" themes of censorship, dystopia, oral traditions and the changing nature of the book. Panelists include Janet Vaill Day, Director of the Woodbridge Town Library; Jill Cutler, assistant dean of Yale College and professional editor; and Joan Malerba-Foran, Vice-President Emeritus of the Connecticut Poetry Society and teacher at Common Ground High School. Audience members are invited to join the speakers at a reception following the panel discussion. Free copies of "Fahrenheit 451" will be available compliments of The Yale Bookstore. The Festival invites the community to attend the event with an open mind and leave with a rekindled desire to read!

Beginning with the kick-off event and continuing through June 28, 2008, the Festival-along with 50-60 partner libraries and community organizations-will host more than 100 events inspired by Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451." These events launch with The Greater New Haven Big Read-Aloud on May 3. Five libraries in Cheshire, Hamden, Orange, Wallingford and New Haven will host marathon readings of "Fahrenheit 451", where patrons, staff and even local "celebrities" will take turns reading aloud from the book. Additional events, including book discussions, dialogues, film screenings, theatrical readings and more, will follow during the six-week reading period leading up to the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

The Big Read will continue during the Festival, June 14-28, with a series of presentations by world-class artists and thinkers which will deepen the understanding of Fahrenheit and its themes. Events include a Sci-fi Film Festival on June 14 and 15, and a performance by Gamelan Galak Tika and Ensemble Robot on Sunday June 15, a traditional 30-piece Balinese wood and metal percussion orchestra joined by Whirlybot, Heliophon and other eye-popping remote-controlled music-making machines. Other events include Fahrenheit-inspired bike tours and walking tours, and a Festival IDEAS presentation hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning artist/illustrator, Art Spiegelman, author of "Maus" and "Maus II," on June 21.

In addition to motivating participants to read "Fahrenheit 451" themselves, The Big Read encourages community members to donate a new or gently used copy of the book for others who might want to read the book. All donations can be made to New Haven Reads, the community book bank located at 45 Bristol Street in New Haven (please call 203-752-1923 for hours and information). New copies of "Fahrenheit 451" can be purchased at a discounted rate at a number of bookstores including Atticus Bookstore and Caf? and The Yale Bookstore in New Haven, and RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison to name just a few (a complete listing of bookstores is listed below). Readers' Guides in English and Spanish, audio guides (English only) and bookmarks are available free of charge from New Haven Reads or at Arts & Ideas - call 203-498-1212 to request a free copy.


For complete list of events visit or contact the International Festival of Arts & Ideas at 203-498-1212.

Greater New Haven's Big Read-Aloud

May 3, Saturday, times vary at each location
Join your fellow bibliophiles throughout Greater New Haven for marathon readings of "Fahrenheit 451" by patrons, staff and local "celebrities" taking turns reading aloud from the book. Participating libraries include:
New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven (1-3pm)
Wallingford Library, 200 North Main Street, Wallingford (10am-12pm)
Cheshire Public Library, 104 Main Street, Cheshire (1-3pm)
Hamden Public Library, 2901 Dixwell Ave, Hamden (10:30-11:30 am and 2:30-3:30 pm)
Case Memorial Library, Orange, 176 Tyler City Road, Orange (1-3pm)

An evening of theater featuring two new works: "Read Big" and "Searching"
May 17 & 18, Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @4pm
Whitney Arts Center, 591 Whitney Avenue, New Haven
New Haven Theater Company & A Broken Umbrella Theater Company present two new shows inspired by "Fahrenheit 451." For more info visit:

TECH TALK: Has Fahrenheit 451 Kindled Your Interest in the future of books?

May 27, Tuesday, 7-8:30pm
Hamden Library, Friends Room, 2901 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden
Mike McCabe, Director of Information Technology at New Haven's Foote School, explores the future of books and reading in the information age.

New Haven Public Schools, Mock Trial Competition

June 3, Tuesday @ 10:30am
Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, Yale University, 1 Prospect Street, New Haven
Student teams skilled in mock trial competitions will face each to argue the themes of "Fahrenheit 451." Members of the New Haven County Bar Association and Milford Superior Court Judge John Turner will participate.

Sci-fi Film Festival

June 14: Fahrenheit 451 and Minority Report, Saturday 1-6pm
June 15: Gattaca and Code 46, Sunday 1-6pm
Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street, New Haven
Provocative double features and lively discussions with sci-fi aficionados, film experts and civil liberties advocates. Co-presented with Yale Summer Film Institute and Yale Summer Creative Writing Program.

Guided tour of the Robotics Lab at Yale University

June 20, Friday @ 2pm
Meet at the Yale Visitor Center, 149 Elm Street, New Haven

Fahrenheit 451 Bike Tour hosted by Elm City Cycling

June 21, Saturday 1-4pm
Meet at the corner of Chapel and College Streets in New Haven
For more information visit or

Presidential Election 2008: Hot Topics

June 28, Saturday @ 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel Street (at York Street), New Haven
Join top political analysts in a spirited discussion about the race for the presidency, just two months prior to the national conventions. Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, moderates.

"Fahrenheit 451" can be purchased at any of the following participating bookstores.
A 20% discount will be available for the purchase of each copy of the book during The Big Read period, May 1 thru June 28.

Albertus Magnus Bookstore - 831 Winchester Avenue, 203-777-2478
Atticus Bookstore & Caf? - 1082 Chapel Street, 203,776-4040
Yale Bookstore - 77 Broadway, 203-777-8440
Book Trader Caf? - 1140 Chapel Street, 203-787-6147
Labyrinth Bookstore - 290 York Street, 203-787-2848 (
RJ Julia Booksellers - 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, 203-245-3949 (
Southern Connecticut State University Bookstore - 501 Crescent Street, 203-392-5270
University of New Haven Campus Bookstore - 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven 203-933-4000 (

"Fahrenheit 451" also available at the following participating libraries:
Ansonia Library - 53 South Cliff Street, Ansonia, 203-734-6275
Case Memorial Library in Orange - 176 Tyler City Road, Orange, 203-891-2170
Cheshire Public Library - 104 Main Street, Cheshire, 203-272-2245
Clark Memorial Library in Bethany - 538 Amity Road, Bethany, 203-393-2103
Derby Public Library - 313 Elizabeth Street, Derby, 203-736-1482
Hamden Public Library - 2901 Dixwell Ave, 203-287-2686
Milford Public Library - 57 New Haven Avenue, Milford, 203-783-3290
New Haven Free Public Library: to find a branch near you, visit or call 203-946-8130
Wallingford Public Library - 200 North Main Street, Wallingford, 203-265-6754

The Big Read Community Partners 2008

Lead Partners: International Festival of Arts & Ideas and the Connecticut Library Consortium
Albertus Magnus College
Ansonia Library
Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES)
Arts Council of Greater New Haven
Case Memorial Library in Orange
Cheshire Correctional Institution
Cheshire Public Library
Cheshire Reads Committee
City of New Haven Commission on Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention
City of New Haven Department of Elderly Services
City of New Haven Fire Department
City of New Haven Mayor's Office
City of New Haven Office of Cultural Affairs
Clark Memorial Library in Bethany
Cold Spring School
Community Mediation
Connecticut Humanities Council
Department of Jewish Education of Greater New Haven
Derby Public Library
Dwight Central Management Team
Fellowship Place
Gateway Community College
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
Hamden Public Library
JUNTA for Progressive Action
Milford Public Library
Neighborhood Music School
New Haven Correctional Center
New Haven Free Public Library
New Haven Museum and Historical Society
New Haven Police Academy
New Haven Public Schools
New Haven Reads Community Book Bank
New Haven Register
New Haven Theatre Company / A Broken Umbrella Theatre Company
Patrons of the New Haven Free Public Library
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
Southern Connecticut State University
The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven
The Friends of the Hamden Library
The Graduate Club
The Yale Bookstore
The Woodbridge Town Library
United Way of Greater New Haven
University of New Haven
Wallingford Public Library
Yale University Office of New Haven and State Affairs

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. For more information on The Big Read national program, please visit

The Big Read - Greater New Haven is co-presented by The International Festival of Arts & Ideas and the
Connecticut Library Consortium and supported by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.