Two years ago today, Indiana Humanities launched One State / One Story: Frankenstein, an ambitious statewide read celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic work of science fiction. Supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment from the Humanities, the initiative called attention to this special anniversary, encouraging Hoosiers to explore and reflect upon the story’s enduring relevance. When more than 600 Hoosiers showed up to our Frankenfest read-a-thon on September 30, 2017, we realized that the passion for this story far exceeded what we expected, or could have imagined.
Through book discussions, speaker programs, experimental STEM activities and more, our hundreds of partners brought the story to every corner of Indiana; so much so, a New York Times writer named Indiana the “hell-mouth of the Franken-frenzy.” We picked up some recognition along the way, including a Public Relations Society of America award for our monthly FrankenNews, which provided Franken-facts, discussion questions, and updates to our legion of Franken-fans.
None of this would have been possible without our partners. We came to you with an idea, and you invented ways to include this monstrous tale in your communities and conversations. The legacy of One State / One Story: Frankenstein are the partnerships forged within communities and relationships built between individuals. The spirit of collaboration that resulted will last long beyond the life of this program.
So what’s next?
We’re embarking on another statewide read with quite a different text. Here at Indiana Humanities, we’re encouraging Hoosiers to turn their attention to their communities and think about relationships across urban, rural and suburban lines. We’ve selected Jean Thompson’s recent novel, The Year We Left Home, as our text, aiming to spark conversations about the recent history of Indiana communities, how we respond to change, and how we relate to others.
Many of the programs are the same. Look forward to a Weekend Retreat in March of 2020, Campus and Community Reads, and a special statewide tour with author Jean Thompson in the fall of 2020. If you’d like to join the conversation, applications to host a Community Read are open now, and close November 8.
Who knew, 2 years or even 200 hundred years ago, that a story written by such a young woman would inspire such transformation within ourselves and our communities? We thank you for your enthusiasm and desire to engage in conversation about great literature. Here’s to many more opportunities to read, think and talk together.