For immediate release
September 5, 2023
Holly Selwitschka
Fox Cities Book Festival board president
(920) 788-7515,
September 5, 2023

Gift will be used to support Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024; title to be announced Oct. 26

Aug. 21, 2023—Fox Cities Book Festival is one of 62 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2023-2024 NEA Big Read grant. A grant of $20,000 will support Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024, a community read. Fox Cities Book Festival plans to announce the Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024 title at an Oct. 26 reveal event. Each year, the Fox Cities Book Festival selects an author and title to promote for Fox Cities Reads.

Through this program, we encourage people in our communities to read, think, talk, listen and grow together.
An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read
broadens our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience.
“We were thrilled and honored to be selected for a 2023-2024 NEA Big Read grant,” said Fox Cities Book
Festival Board President Holly Selwitschka. “This is truly a gift to our whole Fox Cities community.”

“The NEA Big Read brings the transformative experience of reading to an entire community,” said Maria
Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “This year’s grantees, including Fox
Cities Book Festival, are taking themes off the page and using creative programming to navigate difficult topics, explore new perspectives and strengthen bonds between neighbors.”

The NEA Big Read offers a range of titles that reflect many voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire
meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community.
The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually
supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

“Using the captivating power of literature, NEA Big Read events unleash the creative spirit that resides
within all of us,” said Torrie Allen, President and CEO of Arts Midwest. “We’re thrilled to support the
work of grantees across the nation, including Fox Cities Book Festival, as they inspire conversations and artistic expressions through shared reading experiences.”
The Fox Cities Book Festival plans to announce the Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024 title at an event
taking place Oct. 26 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Poplar Hall in Appleton. We invite the community to this free
event, which will feature a performance by Grupo Candela, a 12-piece tropical band. Donations are
appreciated, and drinks will be available for purchase. We’re excited to share the big reveal with our community.

Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024 will mark a change in the structure of the Fox Cities Book Festival’s event
offerings. The festival, which typically was held in the fall, will move to align with Fox Cities Reads in the
spring. This also means that Fox Cities Book Festival will take a hiatus in fall 2023.

Beginning in 2024, we will hold Fox Cities Reads and the Fox Cities Book Festival concurrently. Fox Cities NEA Big Read 2024 and Fox Cities Book Festival are slated to run April 5-6, 2024. We will announce titles, venues and event times in the coming months. Stay up to date on all the details at
Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,800 NEA Big Read programs,
providing more than $25 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have
reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 15+ years, grantees have leveraged
more than $57 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 6 million
Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, over 100,000 volunteers have participated at the local
level, and over 40,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities
possible. For more information about the NEA Big Read, including book and author information,
podcasts and videos, visit

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency
that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of
public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and
practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United
States. Visit to learn more.

The Fox Cities Book Festival works with a mission to connect writers and readers across our diverse
communities. Our vision is to celebrate diverse stories, build an engaged community and support
writers. We do this through offering an annual book festival, a community read and other supplementary
programs in partnership with area libraries.

Arts Midwest supports, informs and celebrates Midwestern creativity. We build community and
opportunity across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota,
Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond. As one of six nonprofit United
States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest works to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in
partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders and many others. Learn more at
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