The Big Read Kick-Off 2016


Members of the Holland community, Hope College students and faculty, and employees of Herrick District Library gathered around 7 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theater Tuesday November 1 to kickoff the 2016 Holland Area Big Read. The event was three TED-Talk style presentations given by three Hope College professors. The night began with opening remarks from Deb Van Duinen, coordinator of the student committee, and Mayor of Holland Nancy DeBoer about how reading brings us together as a community.

Dr. Jonathan Hagood began the talks discussing the historical context of Brother I’m Dying in his presentation “How Do We K now? Danticat and the Art of Historical Thinking.” He addressed the five C’s of history, which included change, context, causality, contingency, and complexity.

Second was Dr. Pauline Remy with her presentation “Kréyol, Folktales and Family Life in Brother, I’m Dying.” She discussed how Danticat’s writing reflects the vibrancy of the Haitian culture, and how faith of community and in God is at the core of the novel.

The final presenter was Dr. Natalie Dykstra whose talk was titled “Two Haitian Fathers: Where Memoir Meets Biography. She discussed how Danticat weaves biographical evidence and her own memories to create a stirring memoir.

The night ended with an audience Q and A and closing remarks from Eva Dean Folkert, a member of the Steering committee. Overall the event was a smashing success!

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By: Lauren Duistermars

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