Fantasy Fest launches month-long Big Read event

DeKALB – The Big Read of DeKalb County will begin on Saturday, Oct. 4, with a Fantasy Fest at DeKalb High School.

In this year’s Big Read, the community will read and celebrate “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. LeGuin during the month of October. From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., discover whole new worlds in this Comic-Con-like event. Fantasy Fest will be a host of dazzling games, magical crafts, mysterious alchemy demonstrations by Northern Illinois University STEM Outreach, music by Dan the Bard, dragon activities by Linda Ma, a life-size “Quest to Mount Doom Obstacle Course,” and much more. There will be medieval knights and ladies and other-worldly characters to interact with Fan Fest goers. Costumes are encouraged. There will be a costume contest at 2 p.m. This fest is free and open to the entire community. Big Read books will be distributed at this event and all the Big Read events throughout October. Visit for a complete list of activities.

Other events to note will be the keynote speaker at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at the Ellwood House Visitor Center. Fantasy author Howard Andrew Jones will talk about the importance of fantasy fiction—why we still read it, and why we should. Jones writes historical fantasy and is the author of “The Chronicles of Sword and Sand,” including the novels “The Desert of Souls” and “The Bones of the Old Ones.” He is also managing editor of Black Gate magazine.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The library is one of 77 nonprofit organizations in the nation to receive a grant to host a Big Read project and one of three organizations to have received it eight years in a row. The Big Read Steering Committee meets to plan and organize all of the events. The committee includes the library, Altrusa International of DeKalb/Sycamore, DeKalb School District 428, Kishwaukee College Family Literacy Program, and Northern Illinois University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming and honorary chairman, Rep. Robert Pritchard.

The Big Read provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 36 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. This grant is a matching grant, therefore, the library does have to raise the equal amount given in funding to support The Big Read program. Monetary donations are accepted, as well as donations in kind.  

For more information about upcoming events, donations, how you can participate or other Big Read questions, contact or call 815-756-9568 ext. 260 or visit

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