Paris Public Library joins Vigo County Public Library and other Wabash Valley area libraries in celebrating the 2019 Big Read — The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka. Paris Public Library has free paperback copies (while they last) to give to interested readers. A book discussion will be held on March 21, at 5:30pm, in the library’s Gibson Room.
In this collection of biographically based poems, author Adrian Matejka chronicles the life of Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight world champion. Johnson rose to wealth and fame during the height of the Jim Crow laws and endured constant backlash as he pursued the world heavyweight boxing championship. Matejka addresses Johnson’s complicated life and career from his earliest fights in Texas to his pinnacle match dubbed “The Fight of the Century.”
Author Adrian Matejka was born in Germany to a military family. He lived in Army bases across Europe and in 10 states before his family settled in Indianapolis. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington and is currently working on a graphic novel based on Johnson’s life.
NEA Big Read is a program of the national Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.