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Home / Blog / NEA Big Read: Columbus returns with Thi Bui’s “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir”

NEA Big Read: Columbus returns with Thi Bui’s “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir”

 “A book to break your heart and heal it.” Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winner

At once cinematic and personal, epic and intimate, Thi Bui’s incredibly moving graphic memoir The Best We Could Do is an evocative and emotional search for a better future and a longing for the past.

And this February, the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University join forces to celebrate Ms. Bui and her best-selling, National Book Award finalist graphic memoir.

The NEA Big Read: Columbus will present a series of free lectures, exhibitions, book discussions and events, including two public programs in which you can meet with the celebrated author/illustrator. Presented under the auspices of the national NEA Big Read program, these programs will give participants greater insight into the themes of family and place that are the fabric of Ms. Bui’s work.

Author Presentations

Ms. Bui will be making two appearances as a part of this year’s Carson McCullers Literary Festival:

AN EVENING WITH AUTHOR THI BUI Friday Feb. 17, 7:30pm, Riverside Theatre, CSU Riverpark Campus, 6 West 10th Street. Copies of The Best We Could Do will be available for purchase, and Ms. Bui will be available for autographs following the presentation.

MASTER CLASS: THI BUI Saturday Feb. 18, 9:00am, Riverside Theatre, CSU Riverpark Campus, 6 West 10th Street

Featured Exhibition and Opening Kick-off

CATHY FUSSELL: QUILTS features the work of long-time Valley resident Cathy Fussell. Like Ms. Bui’s novel, her quilts reflect on and analyze time, place, family, displacement, and diaspora. January 28th through March 5th, Grand Reading Room, Second Floor, Columbus Public Library.

OPENING RECEPTION AND NEA BIG READ KICK-OFF: CATHY FUSSELL: QUILTS Thursday, Feb. 2, Reception 6:00 pm, Gallery Talk 7:00 pm. A limited number of free copies of The Best We Could Do will be available to those in attendance.

Lectures

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL AS ART AND LITERATURE featuring artist/graphic novelist Orion Wertz and Carson McCullers Center Director Dr. Nick Norwood. Thursday, Feb. 9, 7:00 pm, Auditorium, Columbus Public Library

Q+A: SCREENWRITER/PRODUCER NATALIA TEMEGSEN Saturday, Feb. 18, 10:00 am, Riverside Theatre, CSU Riverpark Campus, 6 West 10th Street

Book Discussions

Free copies of The Best We Could Do may be available for book discussion participants. Please call the branch hosting the event (click on event title for details) to inquire about availability.

Create Your Own Memoir

CREATE YOUR OWN POETRY POSTER Tuesday Feb. 7, 4:00pm

PERSONAL HISTORY COMICS Thursday Feb. 23, 2:00pm

Cultural History and Appreciation

FINDING YOUR ROOTS VIEWING PARTY Tuesday Feb. 21, 6:30pm

VIETNAMESE IN AMERICA – TWO SHORT DOCUMENTARIES Thursday Feb. 23, 5:00pm

CRAFT FOR A CAUSE Saturday Feb. 25, 3:00pm

VIETNAMESE CULINARY DEMONSTRATION Saturday March 11, 3:00pm

Family History

RESOURCE OF THE MONTH: ANCESTRY, FOLD3, FAMILYSEARCH Wednesday Feb. 1, 11:00am

FAMILY HISTORY PRESERVATION LAB Throughout February

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? ORAL HISTORIES Monday-Friday Feb. 6-10

GENEALOGY BASICS  Wednesday Feb. 8, 11:00am

Especially for Kids and Teens

(CHOSEN) FAMILY FEUD Wednesday Feb. 1, 4:00pm

DIY GRAPHIC NOVEL MEMOIRS FOR TEENS Tuesday Feb. 14, 6:00pm

IT’S ALL RELATIVE: GENEALOGY FOR TEENS Saturday Feb. 18, 3:00pm

CIVICS & CITIZENSHIP QUIZ TIME Saturday Feb. 25, 10:30am

STORYTIME: “A DIFFERENT POND” Tuesday Feb. 28, 3:00pm

LOST IN TIME! FAMILY GENEALOGY Saturday March 4, 3:00pm


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

NEA Big Read: Columbus is presented by the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University.

Additional support for the NEA Big Read: Columbus is provided by the Muscogee County Library Foundation.

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