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Contact: Paul C. DiNero

The Big Read at Kean University Concludes With Talk by Author Tim O’brien

UNION, NJ - Award-winning novelist Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, will speak at Kean University on Wednesday, April 14, at 12:30 p.m. in Wilkins Theatre, located at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union, N.J. The event is free and open to the public.

O’Brien’s address concludes Kean’s semester-long Big Read program, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) initiative designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Kean chose O’Brien’s, The Things They Carried, from among 30 selections from U.S. and world literature, for Big Read participants to read, discuss and celebrate.

“The book opens readers to a greater understanding of a foundational and heartbreaking moment in our nation's history,” said Dr. Mia Zamora, assistant professor of English who secured a NEA grant to bring the Big Read to Kean.

Far from a combat story of pride and glory, The Things They Carried is a compassionate tale of the American soldier, brimming with raw honesty and thoughtful reflection. In 2005, The New York Times named The Things They Carried one of the twenty best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Hailed as “the best American writer of his generation” by the San Francisco Examiner, O’Brien has authored eight books, including the Going After Cacciato, which received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979, and In the Lake of the Woods, named the best novel of that year by Time magazine.

For more information or to register for the event, please contact Dr. Mia Zamora at

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. While Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers, it is also a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment, offering more than 50 undergraduatedegrees and more than 45 options leading to a master’s degree, doctorate, professional diploma and/or state certification(s). Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students.

Kean University is one of 268 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read through June 2010. The NEA has funded more than 800 Big Read programs in the nation’s towns and cities. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. Support for The Big Read is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Transportation for The Big Read is provided by Ford.