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The Big Read Kick-off with Maureen Corrigan

March 20, 2015

Great Literature. Great Music. Gatsby would have loved it.

The Big Read returns to the Chattahoochee Valley in April with a celebration of the immortal F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby.

To kick things off in appropriate style, the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries is bringing to town one of America’s most beloved book critics, Maureen Corrigan, whose recently published So We Read On: How “The Great Gatsby” Came to Be and Why It Endures has itself become a bit of a classic.

Ms. Corrigan, who is best known for her witty and detailed book reviews on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air program, will speak to area audiences about our nation’s infatuation with the novel and with the character of Jay Gatsby. Copies of her book will be for sale at the event, and she will be available for autographs.

Immediately preceding Ms. Corrigan’s presentation will be hopping Jazz Age music provided by the MCoE Jazz Combo, 283rd Army Band from Ft. Benning.

The festivities take place Wednesday, April 1st, 6:30pm at the Columbus Public Library. Admission is free and no tickets or advance reservations are required.

Free copies of The Great Gatsby will also be distributed at this event (while supplies last).

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest. It is presented by the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries in cooperation with the Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, the Columbus Museum, the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, WRBL News 3 and Sunny 100.


Maureen Corrigan is one of America’s most trusted and beloved book critics. Her distinctive voice is at once incisive and accessible, like a well-read friend who always sends you home with a good book to read. Uponfirst meeting Maureen the celebrated novelist Ann Patchett quipped, “… [we] were going to be friends, and once you become friends with a book reviewer they won’t review your books any more. But everybody knows a smart new friend trumps a great review any day.”

For more than twenty years Maureen has been the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. She is also a columnist for the Washington Post and the critic-in-residence at Georgetown University where her courses are very popular. As a lecturer she’s been described as “brilliant,” “hilarious,” “passionate” and “eloquent.” She is the author of two books of her own; Leave me Alone I’m Reading and So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures, which was named one of the ten best books of the year by Library Journal.

It was Maureen’s father who first inspired her passion for reading. He was an avid reader and she followed in his habits, by her own description a couple of “loner readers.” Maureen later attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and was introduced to the possibility of writing about books when a friend invited her to write a review for the Village Voice. This was a revelatory moment for Maureen who had grown tired of the confines of academic life and found writing about books for a non-scholarly audience “energizing.”

Aside from her writings for the Washington Post and the Village Voice, Maureen has also written reviews for the New York Times, the Boston Globe and The Nation among others. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism. In 2012 she served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Maureen Corrigan lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter. She receives more than 200 books per week to review! Her library, as you might expect, runneth over.

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