XM Satellite Radio and the National Endowment for the Arts will introduce a national radio series called “The Big Read,” named after the NEA’s national reading program, which celebrates books and their place in American life.
The NEA launched The Big Read in 2006 as a national initiative to encourage communities to come together to read and discuss one book. Local organizations receive grants to host community-based programs devoted to a single book.
Every weekday, the show will air audio recordings of classic novels in 30-minute installments, plus NEA-produced programs about each book, featuring interviews, commentary, and readings by actors, authors and other personalities: Mary Louise Parker, Robert Duvall, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor, Garrison Keillor, Cheech Marin, Alice Walker, Edward Albee, Amy Tan and others.
“The Big Read” premieres Sept. 10 on Sonic Theater, the XM channel dedicated to books and contemporary drama. The first book in the series will be Ray Bradbury’s science-fiction novella Fahrenheit 451. Content for the series will be produced by XM, the NEA and Audible, a provider of digital audio books and other spoken-word entertainment.