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The Big Read

The 2016-17 Big Read Event

2016 Writers' Conferene

The 2015-16 Big Read Event

2015 Writers' Conferene

The 2014-15 Big Read Event---October 6 & 7, 2014

Big Read Event -- May 7, 2014

Dr. Wayne Flynt, Keynote Speaker
May 7, 2014
10:00 a.m.
Huntsville/Madison County Public Library on Monroe Street

Dr. Wayne Flynt will present on “Political Idealism, Disillusionment, Accommodation, and Cynicism: Where the Historical and Literary Worlds of Willie Stark and Huey Long Intersect”.

Dr. Flynt is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University. He has won numerous teaching awards and been a Distinguished university professor for many years. His research focuses on Southern culture, Alabama politics, Southern religion, education reform, and poverty. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Online Encyclopedia of Alabama.

Of his twelve books (three co-authored), two deal with Florida politics, two with evangelical religion, three with poverty, and three are broad surveys of Alabama history.   Two of his books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Flynt has been invited to lecture at universities and at “Big Read” programs in cities across America.  He has also been invited to lecture at Cambridge University, the University of Sussex, Queens University (Northern Ireland), University of  Vienna,  University of Szechuan, China, at the Roosevelt Center in the Netherlands, in Denmark, at a number of  universities in India, and on ABC Radio Australia’s nationwide “Book Club.”  He was research scholar for a semester at Hong Kong Baptist University and also served a semester as Eudora Welty Visiting Scholar of Southern Studies at Millsap College, Jackson, MS.

The Big Read Book.  Our Big Read for 2013-2014 is Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, a classic cautionary tale of power and corruption. The book is about the hardscrabble, impoverished Willie Stark, who rises from obscurity to become governor of his state and a political titan. Once idealistic and principled, Willie embraces Machiavellian methods to deliver political promises and his vision of the greater good. Willie’s vision for a better society and the methods he employs results in a series of radically liberal reforms for his state, but his single-minded pursuit of power ultimately corrupts and destroys him and his closest allies.

“It’s a measure of the enduring worth of All the King’s Men that Willie Stark has entered our collective literary consciousness, in the company of Captain Ahab, Huck Finn, Jay Gatsby, Rabbit Angstrom, and very few others.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Over the course of more than two centuries of vivid political history, there is perhaps only one full blooded American novel of politics that plunges deep into the hearts of its characters and therefore into the hearts of its readers, thus rising to the top ranks of American fiction. That is Robert Penn Warren’s lush All the King’s Men.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Big Read Kick-off will be in January at the beginning of Spring semester. The books will be available by final exams for use during the Spring Semester 2014. Faculty are encouraged to integrate the novel within the content areas or encourage students to read the novel as an extracurricular endeavor. 

For more information on Calhoun’s Big Read, contact Leah Vallely at or 256-890-4758.

The Big Read---2013

Calhoun is hosting its first BIG READ this year. The Big Read, a shared reading program created to encourage everyone across our campuses and communities to read and share their thoughts and opinions, will focus on the book THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS written by Rebecca Skloot.

Calhoun’s official BIG READ kicked off on November 1, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at the Fine Arts Building on the Decatur campus. Join Calhoun students, staff and faculty as they delve into the compelling story of Henrietta Lacks, whose life changed all our lives. After we’ve read, we’ll come together on February 19, 2013 for a dynamic discussion of the medical, legal, and ethical consequences of Lacks’ intriguing and important legacy.

Copies of THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS are available through your local public library, your local bookstores or through the QEP. For more information about the Big Read, contact Leah Vallely, QEP Coordinator, at 256-890-4758 or

For more information about the book and its author, please visit