NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley

Join your community in April 2017 as we read the noir classic The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley is a one book, one community program that brings together residents from throughout the St. Croix Valley around a common book. This year’s programming will include a variety of literary, visual and performing arts opportunities centered on themes found in The Maltese Falcon.

Numerous copies of The Maltese Falcon and book club kits can be found in circulation at local libraries throughout the St. Croix Valley. In addition, ArtReach will be distributing hundreds of Read and Release copies of the book throughout the St. Croix Valley in Little Free Libraries, laundromats, coffee shops and doctor’s offices. If you prefer to purchase you own copy of The Maltese Falcon our local independently-owned bookstores Valley Bookseller in Stillwater and Chapter 2 Books in Hudson have copies available. Mention the NEA Big Read and receive a 15% discount.

Check back in February for a full list of programs and opportunities happening in April. Program highlights will include the Totally Criminal Cocktail Party at the Caves at Nova, “The Real Inspector Hound” at St. Croix Festival Theatre, book discussions, film screenings and art exhibitions.

Read the book. See a play. View inmate art. Go noir.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. ArtReach St. Croix is one of 77 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project between September 2016 and June 2017. The NEA presents NEA Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest.

ArtReach St. Croix is presenting the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley in conjunction with core program partners Valley Bookseller, Stillwater Public Library, St. Croix Festival Theatre and library branches located in St. Croix Valley communities between St. Croix Falls, WI and Hastings, MN.

Call for Stories, NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley
To honor Hammett’s early work as a short story writer, ArtReach St. Croix is hosting The St. Croix Noir Writing Challenge. Writers are encouraged to submit a piece of flash fiction inspired by the detective novel form. Successful submissions will be 500-750 words and should hint at or imply a larger story. Flash fiction is not the same as Vignette, and your short piece should still present an interesting and compelling story. The fine print: submissions must be received by April 1 at 11:59 p.m., submissions should be emailed to, include your name as you would like it to appear in the online blog and eBook and your city of residence in the body of the email, and stories should be attached to the email as Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Plain Text (.txt) format. For more information see the Big Read Call for Stories 2017.