A celebration is taking place in the new year for the 200th birthday of “Frankenstein”— a book that was originally published by an anonymous author (19-year-old Mary Shelley) and would go on to open up new literary genres, inspire countless films and books.
The book also continues to raise important questions about science and technology. For these and many other reasons, Indiana Humanities is presenting One State / One Story: Frankenstein, an ambitious slate of programming around the classic novel. More than 70 communities across the state will participate by hosting read-a-thons, community reads, college and university programs, and more.
“The goal of that is to get everybody in Indiana and as many people as we can reading the book and talking about the big themes that are in it,” says Indiana Humanities Vice-President Kristen Fuhs Wells.
The book raises big questions about right and wrong- how we treat other people and the relationship between science and society — and Fuhs Wells says that’s why "Frankenstein" is multi-generational.
“Because 'Frankenstein' is such a pop culture icon everyone can relate to it and they might not realize what is in the book," Fuhs Wells says. "We’ve kind of been misled about the Frankenstein creature throughout the years.”
There are a number of ways that people can participate in One State / One Story: Frankenstein, which is funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and presented in partnership with the Indiana State Library and the Center for the Book. Hoosiers across the state can:
Read the book along with Indiana Humanities online. Launching on Jan. 19, Indiana Humanities will post a chapter of the book on its website and provide discussion questions.
Borrow sets of books of "Frankenstein" from Indiana Humanities’ free Novel Conversations lending library for book clubs.
Join a local Community Read. Funds were awarded to 62 organizations from Angola to Vevay to host book discussions, pay for speakers, etc.
Attend a Frankenfest read-a-thon of the book. Ten organizations outside of Marion County received $1,000 grants to host a festival and read-a-thon in 2018.
Attend a digital gaming workshop to learn how to design a game (with a monster); an immersive weekend retreat for adults featuring scholarly talks, thematic food and drink, and more; or the Feb. 2 First Friday at the Harrison Center for the Arts featuring art inspired by Frankenstein.
Pick up a copy of the spring issue of PATTERN magazine to see artist renderings of who the villain in the book actually is.
Check out the events at more than a dozen colleges and universities, including special community courses, exhibits and film festivals inspired by the book.
Attend the Indiana Sci-Fi and Horror Writers Festival for teens this fall.
- Use and follow #itsalive on social media to join the conversation about the book and its themes.
More information about the individual programs is available on the Indiana Humanities website.