Home News Big Read in Kansas City : Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”

Big Read in Kansas City : Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”

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“When did science fiction first cross over from genre writing to the mainstream of American literature?

Almost certainly it happened on October 19, 1953, when a young Californian named Ray Bradbury published a novel with the odd title of Fahrenheit 451. In a gripping story at once disturbing and poetic, Bradbury takes the materials of pulp fiction and transforms them into a visionary parable of a society gone awry, in which firemen burn books and the state suppresses learning. Meanwhile, the citizenry sits by in a drug-induced and media-saturated indifference. More relevant than ever a half-century later, Fahrenheit 451 has achieved the rare distinction of being both a literary classic and a perennial bestseller.”

In 1954, “Fahrenheit 451” won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal.

It has since won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame”Award in 1984 and a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only four Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004.

Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.

Do you ever read any of the books you burn?”
He laughed. “That’s against the law!”
“Oh. Of course.”

Adaptations include François Truffaut’s film adaptation of the novel in 1966, starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie and a BBC Radio dramatization was produced in 1982. Bradbury published a stage play version in 1979 and helped develop a 1984 interactive fiction computer game titled “Fahrenheit 451”, released in 2010 with a collection of his short stories, “A Pleasure to Burn”.

Playhouse 90 broadcast “A Sound of Different Drummers” on CBS in 1957, written by Robert Alan Aurthur. The play combined plot ideas from “Fahrenheit 451” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Bradbury sued and eventually won on appeal.

BBC Radio produced a one-off dramatization of the novel in 1982[88] starring Michael Pennington. It was broadcast again on February 12, 2012, and April 7 and 8, 2013, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

In 1984, the novel was adapted into a computer text adventure game of the same name by the software company Trillium.

In 2006, the Drama Desk Award winning Godlight Theatre Company produced and performed the New York City premiere of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” at 59E59 Theaters. After the completion of the New York run, the production then transferred to the Edinburgh Festival where it was a 2006 Edinburgh Festival Pick of the Fringe.

The Off-Broadway theatre The American Place Theatre presented a one man show adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451” as a part of their 2008–2009 Literature to Life season.

In June 2009, a graphic novel edition of the book was published. Entitled “Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation“, the paperback graphic adaptation was illustrated by Tim Hamilton. The introduction in the novel is written by Bradbury.

“Fahrenheit 451” inspired the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine, which was performed at the Birmingham Central Library in April 2012.

Mid-Continent Public Library

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Events

4-5-1: A Bradbury-esque Writing Challenge

As part of our Big Read celebration, MCPL’s Story Center will sponsor a writing contest to showcase – and reward! – Bradbury-esque writers in our community. The twist?

All short story submissions must be no more than 451 words long. All contest entries must be original creative works submitted via email to wn@mymcpl.org between March 15 and April 30, 2016.

In the book Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury described a prompt he employed early in his writing career.

He made lists of nouns as triggers for potential stories. The lists were something like this: The lake. The night. The crickets. The ravine. The attic. The basement. The trapdoor. The baby. The crowd. The night train. The fog horn. The scythe. The carnival. The carousel. The mirror maze. The skeleton.

This method kept him unblocked, writing and would someday churn out the storyline for Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Your original work could begin with one of the nouns from Bradbury’s list, or you can create your own list.

If you’re on Twitter, reply to the Twitter handle @YouAreCarrying with the word “inventory” and you’ll receive a list of nouns in reply. Whatever your inspiration, the story should be inventive, transporting and vivid. All entries will be considered for an anthology collection of contest submissions, which will be published by the Woodneath Press.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library, 15616 East US Hwy 24, Independence, Missouri 64050-2057

Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2016 – Sat, Apr 30, 2016
Time: 12:00pm – 12:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 
“The masterwork about a dystopian society where books are contraband is a staple of school curricula. It has been translated into more than 30 languages around the world and is, today, one of the most selected titles in community reading programs…Bradbury had no way of knowing that in 2016, many millennials would favor text conversations and Facebook “friends” over the real thing. The near psychic level of cultural prognostication in the book is uncanny. Bradbury worried that the rise of mass media and the growing importance of technology in our lives could become debilitating. He also knew society would become less educated.” – Sam Weller
“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, sci-fi, fantasy and thrillers.”
Bradbury on TV: Screenings and Discussions

The 1960s were a golden age for strange tales on American television – and Ray Bradbury worked for some of the most influential TV shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Join film critic Robert Butler as he tackles the small screen with screenings of two classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes penned by Bradbury, followed by a discussion of how these episodes fit within his larger body of work. Butler spent more than four decades as a writer for The Kansas City Star, mostly on the entertainment beat where he covered theater and movies. He continues to review new releases for The Star, on his blog at butlerscinemascene.com and on the national website seniorcorrespondent.com. He also hosts a regular film series on Sunday afternoons at MCPL’s North Independence Branch.

Event Location: Boardwalk Branch , 8656 N. Ambassador Dr., Kansas City, Missouri 64154

Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2016
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 
Bradbury’s writing speed gave “Fahrenheit 451” an undeniable narrative movement, a gripping river of story that flows from the onset. He used the genre of science fiction as a shrewd means to muse on not the future but the present. He focused on the rising importance of technology and its hypnotic allure, which draws us ever further from books and face-to-face conversation.” – Sam Weller

Build a Robot Dog

Science City on the Road educators will lead this team-based hands-on workshop designed for teen participants to build a robot dog, inspired by the robot dog featured in Fahrenheit 451. This program allows participants to develop and expand programming and problem-solving skills using the LEGO ® Mindstorm robotics kit.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library (Lee’s Summit Branch), 150 NW Oldham Pkwy., Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64081

Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 
“The sun burned every day. It burned Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen, and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burned!”

R&R Book Group

The Red Bridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library hosts this book discussion of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451.

Event Location: 11140 Locust St. , Kansas City , Missouri 64131

Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 

Modern Classics Book Group

The South Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library hosts this book discussion of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library (South Independence Branch), 13700 E. 35th St. South, Independence, Missouri 64055

Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 
 The Bradbury Style: A Short Story Seminar

Acclaimed writer Sam Weller leads a three-hour writing intensive workshop that explores the inspiring creative process of Ray Bradbury, the prolific author of more than 500 short stories, novels, and essays. Participants will learn to generate imaginative story concepts and get them down on the page using a process that is applicable to stories of all types, from the deeply personal to the fantastic. Please join us as we learn the lessons of writing short stories handed down from one of the masters. Registration is limited.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library (The Story Center), 8900 NE Flintlock Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64157

Date: Sun, Mar 20, 2016
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 

Film Screening: Fahrenheit 451

Join film critic and enthusiast Robert Butler for a screening and discussion of the 1966 film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, directed by Francois Truffaut, who produced his only English-language film in this drama starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie. Butler spent more than four decades as a writer for The Kansas City Star, mostly on the entertainment beat where he covered theater and movies. He continues to review new releases for The Star, on his blog at butlerscinemascene.com and on the national website seniorcorrespondent.com. He also hosts a regular film series on Sunday afternoons at MCPL’s North Independence Branch.

Event Location: Kearney Branch , 100 S. Platte Clay Way , Kearney, Missouri 64060

Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2016
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 

Big Read: The Bradbury Chronicles

Acclaimed biographer Sam Weller discusses the life and legacy of Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury, who also penned such seminal works of fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction as The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine. From Bradbury’s classic fiction to his work in Hollywood and to many fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the life of the master storyteller, Weller gives an unprecedented look into the visionary life and work of an American literary icon. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library (Woodneath Library Center), 8900 NE Flintlock Road, Kansas City, MO 64157

Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 

Big Read: The Bradbury Chronicles

Acclaimed biographer Sam Weller discusses the life and legacy of Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury, who also penned such seminal works of fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction as The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine. From Bradbury’s classic fiction to his work in Hollywood and to many fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the life of the master storyteller, Weller gives an unprecedented look into the visionary life and work of an American literary icon. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Event Location: Mid-Continent Public Library (Colbern Road Branch), 1000 NE Colbern Road, Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64068

Date: Tue, Mar 22, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

 

“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That’s our official slogan !”

Book Group

The Mid-Continent Public Library’s Woodneath Library Center hosts this book discussion of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451.

Event Location: Woodneath Library Center, 8900 NE Flintlock Rd, Kansas City, Missouri 64157

Date: Tue, Mar 22, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Fahrenheit 451

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that, shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”- Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Bradbury’s Big Read

Sam Weller: ‘Fahrenheit 451’ forever: a literary classic’s uncanny cultural longevity

 

 

 

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