A Book Group For the Whole Community!
Whatcom READS is a county-wide program that encourages everyone to read and discuss the same book. It is organized by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and us, their community partner. They receive significant funding from Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library Foundation, and support from other local businesses and organizations.
Each year, a new book is selected by Whatcom READS organizers. Community members are encouraged to read or listen to the book, share it with family, friends and neighbors, and participate in programs and special events that follow the book’s themes. Each series culminates with a visit by the author of the selected book, who makes numerous free-of-charge public presentations at locations throughout the county.
Through all the books explored and authors hosted, their goal has been simple: creating an annual literary happening that gets people talking about great literature and sharing the joy of reading and discussing books.
Whatcom READS was modeled after the highly successful Seattle Reads program, which began in the late ’90s and became a national phenomenon. Communities large and small across the country now host similar programs to wide acclaim.
Thanks to the dedication of their partners, the generosity of contributing business and organizations, and some really excellent visiting authors, they have become the premier literary series in our area.
Bestselling novelist Esi Edugyan writes richly imagined and impeccably researched stories that illuminate complicated truths about race and belonging. She is only the third writer to twice win the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award. Washington Black, her third novel, was included in numerous best books of the year lists when it was published in 2018.
Leading up to Edugyan’s visit to Bellingham and Whatcom County in March 2021, the Whatcom READS planning committee will work with community groups to create programs that explore themes from Washington Black. Watch Whatcom READS website and social media pages for updates and to get involved.