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Word S8.6 – What does the NEA Big Read program, NaNoWriMo and Linda Ronstadt have in common?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The views expressed by guests featured in this program do not represent the editorial positions of KJZZ News nor its reporters and staff.

On this episode of KJZZ's Word, the application window for the National Endowment for the Arts'  Big Read grants is open. 

Plus, National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo, is winding down and writers are feverishly trying to finish 50,000 words by Nov. 30 .

Finally, music icon and one of Arizona’s beloved daughters, Linda Ronstadt, has a new memoir.

Guest list

Josh Feist is director of grant making at Arts Midwest, one of six nonprofit arts agencies in the country that helps facilitate the NEA Big Read program.

The Intent to Apply deadline for grants is Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

For their project, applicants will choose one of 15 books representing a diverse range of contemporary themes, voices and perspectives. More information on the books and authors, as well as discussion questions and videos,  are available.

The NEA Big Read welcomes applications from a variety of eligible organizations, including first-time applicants; organizations serving communities of all sizes, including rural and urban areas; and organizations with small, medium or large operating budgets. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to:

  • Arts centers, arts councils, and arts organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Libraries and literary centers
  • Community service organizations, environmental organizations, and faith-based organizations
  • Museums and historical societies
  • School districts and local education agencies
  • Tribal governments and nonprofits

Applicant organizations will collaborate with a broad range of partners — including a community library if the applicant itself is not a library — to offer events and activities that engage the whole community.
Potential applicants may sign up for 15-minute consultations with Arts Midwest staff and review sample applications. Access the  guidelinesfor more details.

NaNoWriMo is winding down and writers are feverishly trying to finish 50,000 words by Nov. 30 th.

On our last episode, we talked to one Valley municipal liaison (ML) for the annual contest about her efforts to help others hit that mark as well as her own project.

As we count down the remaining days in November, we caught up with another ML,  Erin Lorandos.

Originally from Wisconsin, Lorandos is a librarian and writer living in Phoenix. She primarily  writes poetry, but no genre is off limits and has participated in NaNoWriMo with varying degrees of success for a number of years.

Our final guest on this episode is a beloved musician from Tucson. In October,  Linda Ronstadt released “Feels Like Home,” a memoir which includes photos by Bill Steen and also recipes, just in time for the holidays if you’re feeling like trying a Sonoran staple.

Ronstadt wrote the book in collaboration with Lawrence Downes a writer and editorial board member of the New York Times. When we talked recently, I was curious how the memoir came to fruition as well as how Downes became involved with the project.   


Portions of “Word” have been nominated for Edward R. Murrow and Public Media Journalists Association awards.

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Thanks so much for supporting literature in Arizona and the region!

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.