Big Read Fort Smith graphic


Emily Saint John Mandel

Cover image of Station Eleven by Emily Saint John Mandel

SAVE THE DATE — MARCH 26, 2019: The NEA Big Read in Fort Smith will be hosted by by UAFS thanks to a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The community reading program includes activities centered around this year’s selected book, “Station Eleven,” a best-selling novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Activities will take place throughout October 2018, February and March 2019, and will culminate with a visit from Mandel. Mandel will give a craft talk from 2:30-3:30 on March 26, 2019, in the Windgate Theatre in Windgate Art & Design on the UAFS campus. At 7 p.m. that evening, she will give a talk to the public and a book signing will follow, with this event taking place in the Stubblefield Center.


Set 20 years after a flu pandemic destroys most of civilization, “Station Eleven” tells the story of a woman who moves between the settlements of a devastated world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the existence of the group. The novel received mass acclaim when it was published in 2014, winning the Arthur C. Clarke award and receiving nominations for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award.


A native of Canada, Mandel now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.. She is the author of four novels and is currently a staff writer for The Millions, an online literary magazine.


UAFS was one of 79 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant for the NEA Big Read, which showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect various voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery.


For more information on the UAFS Big Read, contact Dr. Ann-Gee Lee, co-chair, at or Dr. Cammie Sublette, UAFS English, Rhetoric and Writing department head, at



"This honor doesn’t just reflect the work happening on the UAFS campus, but demonstrates the NEA’s desire to invest in Fort Smith.” Dr. Christian Gerard, assistant professor of English.