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NEA BIG READ

Join us for a year of exciting programming as we host NEA Big Read: Greater Cincinnati events focused on Sitting Pretty by Dr. Rebekah Taussig!

We all have a story. Let's read it.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is thrilled to be one of 62 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host a 2022-2023 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read project! From September 2022 through June 2023, we and several partner organizations will host programming centered on the themes of Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, a memoir-in-essays by Dr. Rebekah Taussig, including film screenings, book discussions, and a visit from the author.

Dr. Taussig is a woman who uses a wheelchair due to paralysis resulting from childhood cancer, but those are only a few facets of her life as a “writer, teacher, advocate, and human lady person,” and she tells stories of her experiences with humor, empathy, and humanity, making them relatable for just about anyone.

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.

 

About Rebekah Taussig

“I’m a Kansas City writer who lives in a very small, very old house with my fussy family of tenderhearted snugglers. I’ve spent most of my life immersed in the world of writing and reading—as a student, teacher, and human person—because I believe that words and stories matter. I am interested in the powerful connection between the cultural narratives we tell and the world we live in, from physical spaces and economic opportunities to social roles and interpersonal relationships. I earned a PhD in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies from the University of Kansas, and I write personal essays that participate in the stories being told about disability. I also run an Instagram account, @sitting_pretty, where I regularly craft ‘mini-memoirs’ that explore what it means to live in my particular (disabled, female) body.” Learn more about Rebekah Taussig.

Events

Crip Camp Screening/Discussion & Next Generation Library Presentation
October 9, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Enjoy a screening of the documentary Crip Camp about the 1970s experience of teenagers with disabilities who met at Camp Jened and turned their summers of liberation and inclusion into a movement for Disability Rights. Prior to the screening, attendees will learn more about Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s Next Gen Library plans to expand access in libraries across the city and county, as well as ETC’s current accessible performing arts opportunities. Following the film, we will discuss ableism and access in modern cultural institutions, such as CHPL and ETC.

Cincinnati & Hamilton Public County Library – Deer Park Branch | 4020 E Galbraith Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236


Employment Is in Your Future
October 12, 2022 from 4:00–5:00 pm

Hosted by Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, learn about Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the state agency on the north side of the river which connects workers and employers, providing both with resources on hiring, employee rights and accommodations, and more.

Virtual event hosted by Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library


Author Event: Sarah Kurchak
November 4, 2022 from 7:00–8:00 pm

Hosted by Campbell County Library, hear from Sarah Kurchack, author of I Overcame my Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder. The memoir examines the steps Kurchak took to become “an Autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life, and how she is now trying to recover. Her memoir dives into topics like Autism parenting culture, love, sex, alcohol, obsessions, and even professional pillow fighting. All the while, it challenges stereotypes and preconceptions about Autism and considers what might really make the lives of Autistic people healthier, happier, and more fulfilling.

Campbell County Library – Carrico/Ft Thomas Branch | 1000 Highland Ave, Ft Thomas, KY 41075

Register


Book Discussion
November 12, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Join others who have read Sitting Pretty for a facilitated conversation about its themes and topics, and see visual displays featuring local (Marisa Conners, fashion designer), historical (Ludwig von Beethoven, composer), and notable (Alice Wong, activist/author of companion title Disability Visibility) people with disabilities.

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library – Price Hill Branch | 970 Purcell Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45205

Book Discussion
January 24, 2023 from 6:30–8:30 pm

Join others who have read Sitting Pretty for a facilitated conversation about its themes and topics.

Boone County Library – Main Branch | 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY 41005


Book Discussion
March 13, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Join others who have read Sitting Pretty for a facilitated conversation about its themes and topics.

Kenton County Library – Covington Branch | 502 Scott St, Covington, KY 41011


Children’s Story Time
April 29, 2023 at 11:00 am

Bring the littles in your world for a story time reading of Ali and the Sea Stars by Ali Stroker, an NEA Big Read: Greater Cincinnati companion title, do some shopping, and learn more about Blue Marble’s efforts to become an accessible small business located in a historic building.

Blue Marble Books | 1356 S Fort Thomas Ave, Ft Thomas, KY 41075


Book Discussion
May 16, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Join others who have read Sitting Pretty for a facilitated conversation about its themes and topics.

Campbell County Library – Newport Branch | 901 E Sixth St, Newport, KY 41071


The TALL InstituteTALL Institute Performance Screening
June 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm

See a screening of the filmed creative response to Sitting Pretty developed by our partners at TALL Institute and stay for a brief reception and discussion to follow.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati | 1127 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202


A woman sitting in a wheelchair. She has a short, blonde bob and is wearing a bright red sweater.NEA Big Read: Greater Cincinnati Culminating Celebration – Meet the Author
June 9, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Celebrate the conclusion of the NEA Big Read programming with an author visit from Rebekah Taussig, a visual art exhibition of creative responses to Sitting Pretty from Visionaries + Voices artists, and V+V Artist Night creative opportunities for kids.

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library – Walnut Hills Branch | 961 E McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45206

Get the book

Read along, attend events, and be part of the fun! Find Sitting Pretty at your local library or purchase your own via Bookshop.org to support Blue Marble Books, a local Indie bookstore.

NEABigRead_CompanionTitles

Resources

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

Photo credits | Accessibility, Phil Fiorini and Nathan Robert Pecchia in Fly by Night (Ryan Kurtz); About, set of The Whipping Man (Brian Ambs).