Event—Public Programming

Moby-Dick Read-a-Thon

Kent Rockwell illustration for Moby-Dick, 1930

Kent Rockwell illustration for Moby-Dick, 1930

Kent Rockwell illustration for Moby-Dick, 1930

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or The Whale, First Edition, 1851

Join us for an hour, an afternoon or morning, or all night long!

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville's birth, the Newberry Library will host a Moby-Dick Read-a-Thon lasting 25 continuous hours. By the end of the marathon reading, a series of readers-performers will have collectively read Moby-Dick (aloud) cover to cover!



Download the general schedule for the Read-a-Thon, and the detailed Reader Roster.

10:30 am Saturday, January 19, Reading of Moby-Dick Prefatory Material

As people arrive for the keynote address, Moby-Dick's "Extracts" and "Etymology" will be read.

11 am Saturday, January 19, Keynote Address

Nathaniel Philbrick: "The Enduring Power of Moby-Dick"

Please click here for a description of Philbrick's lecture, and to register to attend it.

12 pm Saturday, January 19, through about 1 pm Sunday, January 20

The live marathon reading of Moby-Dick, kicked off by Nathaniel Philbrick reading the first chapter. Other readers scheduled include Jamie Abelson, Candice Agree, Greg Allen, Eddie Arruza, Peter Coviello, Jesse Dukes, Paul Durica, Robbie Ellis, Betsy Erkkila, Don Evans, Lisa Flynn, Carrie Muehle, Sara Paretsky, Don Share, Blair Thomas, Kelly Wisecup, Mary Wisniewski, and actors from Shakespeare Project of Chicago.

During the reading, we will take short breaks at about 2:40, 4:40, and 7:20 pm on Saturday.

Readers have received confirmations of their scheduled times. Questions? Write to publicprograms@newberry.org.

Download a PDF flyer for the Read-a-Thon, to post and distribute.

The Read-a-Thon is organized by Carrie Moore. We are also grateful to Argus Brewery, Big Shoulders Coffee, and Potash Markets for providing refreshments.

This event is part of our programming in connection with the exhibition Melville: Finding America at Sea, sponsored by Elizabeth Amy Liebman and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. See the exhibition from January 18 through April 6, 2019, at the Newberry.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.

Note: The Newberry does not have a visitor parking lot, but garage parking is available in the neighborhood. The nearest parking garage is located at 100 West Chestnut Street (enter on Clark Street just north of Chestnut), which has 24-hour access. Bring your parking ticket to the Newberry security kiosk for validation. Discounted rates are $11 (0-6 hours), $13 (6-8 hours), and $35 (8-24 hours).