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NEA Big Read 2022

NEA Big Read: Exploring the Imaginative and Moral Narratives in Beloved


Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT May 26, 2022

The Center for Fiction*
& Online via Zoom

The Center for Black Literature, in collaboration with The Center for Fiction’s NEA Big Read initiative for Toni Morrison’s classic novel Beloved, will present a book discussion on the significance of the novel in the larger cultural and literary landscape. Scholars and writers on the panel include Shelly Eversley, professor of English and Interim Chair of the Black and Latinx Studies Department at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY); Monica L. Miller, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana Studies and English at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Emily Raboteau, author and professor of creative writing at the City College of New York (CUNY). Donna Hill, professor of English at Medgar Evers College and award-winning author, will serve as moderator of the discussion.

The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read—a partnership with Arts Midwest—broadens our understanding of our world, our neighbors, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community.

*Proof of vaccination is required to attend this event in person. Mask wearing is also required throughout the building. Accepted vaccination proofs include:

  • CDC vaccination card (or an image of it)
  • Excelsior Pass or Excelsior Pass Plus (or a printout of it)
  • A record of vaccination from the healthcare provider who administered your vaccine

Anyone 5 and older is required to show proof of two vaccine doses or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Anyone 18 and older must also present a government issued photo ID.

If you remain unvaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, please contact us at for assistance or to request a reasonable accommodation.


In Conversation

  • Dr. Shelly Eversley - Claire Fennell

    Dr. Shelly Eversley

    Dr. Shelly Eversley

    Dr. Shelly Eversley is professor of English and interim chair of the Black and Latinx Studies department at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY), where she teaches literature, feminism, and Black studies. She is also faculty co-director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Transformative Learning in the Humanities initiative at CUNY. She was recently academic director of CUNY’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program and is founder of She is the author of The Real Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature (Routledge, 2004) as well as several essays on literature, race, and culture. Her editorial work includes The Sexual Body and The 1970s, both special issues of WSQ, a journal by The Feminist Press, as well as the forthcoming book African American Literature in Transition, 1960–1970: Black Art, Politics, and Aesthetics (Cambridge). She is currently revising a new book titled The Practice of Blackness: Cold War Surveillance, Censorship and African American Literary Survival.

  • Donna Hill

    Donna Hill

    Donna Hill

    Donna Hill’s latest book is titled Confessions in B-Flat. Hill is also the author of Divas, Inc. and In My Bedroom, and has more than 80 published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990. She is one of the pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. Her awards include The Career Achievement Award, The Trailblazer Award, The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award, and The Gold Pen Award. She is an assistant professor of Professional Writing at Medgar Evers College, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Hill has been featured in Essence, the Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise, among many others. She can be found at

  • Monica Miller - Claire Fennell

    Monica L. Miller

    Monica L. Miller

    Monica L. Miller is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana Studies and English at Barnard College, Columbia University. A specialist in contemporary African American and Afro-diasporic literature and cultural studies, she is the author of the award-winning book Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity (Duke University Press, 2009). A grantee from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, she is a frequent commentator in the media and arts worlds and teaches and writes about Black literature, art, and performance, fashion cultures, and contemporary Black European culture and politics.

  • Emily Raboteau - Claire Fennell

    Emily Raboteau

    Emily Raboteau

    Emily Raboteau is the author of The Professor’s Daughter (Henry Holt and Co., 2005); Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013), winner of an American Book Award; and Lessons for Survival, forthcoming in 2023. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, New York magazine, and elsewhere. She is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, a contributing editor at Orion magazine, and a professor of creative writing at the City College of New York.