Our Stories, Our Lives

2015-16 Great Michigan Read has been selected: “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

Michigan Humanities Council is announcing the fifth round of Great Michigan Read, a biennial statewide literary program focusing on humanities themes. The Great Michigan Read aims to connect us as Michiganians by deepening our understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity. A statewide panel of teachers, librarians, community leaders and book lovers select the Great Michigan Read every two years.

Station Eleven is a departure from the non-fiction selections of the past several years, but we believe the opportunity for engaging programming and events, the connections to the humanities themes and the opportunities for discussion make it a perfect selection,“ said Jan Fedewa, Interim Executive Director.

The questions raised in this novel will make you think about what it means to be human, why do we fight for survival, the human need to connect, to mark history and to create a future. We think you will love this book as much as we do!

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Book Summary:

Station Eleven is the story of the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of Shakespearean actors and orchestral musicians traveling the shores of the Great Lakes in a post-apocalyptic Michigan. Striving to maintain their humanity in the altered landscape of a world where 99% of the population has been wiped out by a flu pandemic, the Traveling Symphony operates under one credo: “Survival is insufficient.”

Station Eleven is set in a world turned upside down, but is ultimately an exploration of people surviving and remaking their lives by preserving the qualities that make us human: culture, art, and the humanities.

What is the Great Michigan Read?

The Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read is a literary program for the entire state with a focus on a single book – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Program Dates:

  • Program runs from August 2015 through May 2016
  • Partner Registration begins May 4, 2015
  • Emily St. John MandelAuthor Tour:  4 Appearances throughout Michigan
    • October 2015
    • November 2015
    • April 2016
    • May 2016

Program Materials – Available late summer 2015

Great Michigan Read partners receive free reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, bookmarks, and other supplemental materials.  Schools, libraries, and select nonprofits will be eligible for free copies of the book.

Quick Grants

Quick grants of up to $500 are available to help bring in the Great Michigan Read author or to support programming centered on the themes found in the selected title.

Selection Process

The 2015-16 Great Michigan Read title was selected by seven regional selection committees representing all corners of Michigan.  Reading books with Michigan themes or locations from August – December of 2014, the selection committee chairs met in Lansing in January of 2015 where they unanimously selected Station Eleven as the next Great Michigan Read.

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About the Michigan Humanities Council

The Michigan Humanities Council connects people and communities by fostering and creating quality cultural programs.

In carrying out its mission, the Council encourages and supports, through advocacy, fundraising and community engagement, a variety of activities which bring humanities scholars and the public together to examine culture. Moving forward, the Council will:

  • award grants for public humanities and cultural programs;
  • conduct public humanities and cultural projects of statewide importance;
  • initiate collaborations and partnerships to broaden and strengthen the organizational and institutional base for the humanities in Michigan; and
  • provide the humanities with leadership and a public voice in Michigan.

The Michigan Humanities Council will be known as a unifying force throughout Michigan, whose programs help people connect with one another and the places where they live, by fostering a greater understanding and engagement in the cultures, histories, and values which tell us who we were, are, and hope to be.

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