Roy Blunt, Greg Burris, Norm Ridder and Ron Spigelman head the roster in marathon reading of To Kill a Mockingbird at inaugural Missouri Literary Festival
U.S. Representative Roy Blunt, Springfield City Manager Greg Burris, Springfield R-12 Schools Superintendent Dr. Norman Ridder and Springfield Symphony Music Director Ron Spigelman are among the volunteers who will take part in a marathon public reading of the classic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird at this weekend’s inaugural Missouri Literary Festival, representatives with the Festival announced today.
“We’re delighted that our congressman, our City Manager, the head of our school system and Springfield’s favorite Music Man will be joining us in this celebration of reading,” said event coordinator Kelly Knauer, an editor with TIME Books. “This public reading of Harper Lee’s beloved novel is mainly for fun: it’s outdoors, out loud, and out of the box. But there’s a serious message involved: reading is essential to our success as individuals and as a society.”
Volunteers will take turns reading the novel for 15 minutes each on the concourse of Hammons Field, the Festival venue. Knauer said the marathon, dubbed “To Read a Mockingbird,” will be “a moveable feast … attendees will drop in, sit a spell, and read along with copies of the text we’ll provide, before they move on to other Festival activities.”
Other volunteer readers include Greene County Commissioners Roseann Bentley and Harold Bengsch; Springfield Greene-County Library Director Regina Greer Cooper; Greene County Circuit Judge Jason Brown; KSMU radio announcers Michelle Skalicky and Randy Stewart; KY-3 meteorologist Dave Snider; Skinny Improv director Jeff Jenkins; and educators from Drury University, Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical College, Evangel University and Southwest Baptist University. The complete schedule of readers is available at the Festival Web site, www.missouriliteraryfestival.org
“We’ll be ‘reading the Bird’ from 9 to 5 on Saturday and from 12 to 5 on Sunday,” Knauer said. “We’ve kept a few reading slots open on Sunday to include volunteers from the public. But we’ll keep quiet on Saturday morning from 10 to 11:15, when two-time U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins will give a public reading at Hammons Field. When Billy Collins talks, even Atticus Finch listens.”
The Missouri Literary Festival, a Celebration of Arts, Literature and Literacy, is a nonprofit event focused on raising funds to benefit Springfield Regional Arts Council, Ozarks Literacy Council, Family Literacy Centers of Springfield, the R-12 Title I Schools and the Writers Hall of Fame scholarship program.