In a press release issued yesterday, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in partnership with XM Radio, announced the launch of The Big Read on XM, a radio series based on the NEA’s national reading program of the same name. The Big Read brings communities together to read and discuss a single book in order to restore reading to the center of American public culture. Building on the literature program’s success, the new series will introduce the Big Read to XM’s more than 8.2 subscribers nationwide. The Big Read on XM premieres September 10 on Sonic Theater (XM Channel 163), the XM radio channel devoted to audio books and contemporary theater. Hosted by Sonic Theater Program Director Josephine Reed, the series’s first installment will feature FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury.

The Big Read on XM will air audio versions of classic novels in 30-minute installments, courtesy of Audible. Other program highlights will include NEA-produced readings, interviews, and commentary about each novel by some of the nation’s most celebrated authors, actors, and public figures. Just a few of the notable names taking part in the Big Read are actors Robert Duvall, Cheech Marin, and Mary Louise Parker, writers Ray Bradbury, Alice Walker, and Tony Hillerman, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.