Tim O'Brien

TOMS RIVER, NJ — Last year the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest awarded Toms River Regional Schools a $15,000 grant to host NEA Big Read, the aim of which is to broaden understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. On Thursday, March 28, at 6:30 pm, Tim O’Brien – author of “The Things They Carried” – will visit the Jay and Linda Grunin Center of the Arts as the culmination of Toms River’s 2018-2019 NEA Big Read. 

This event, which will feature a book discussion followed by a Q&A and a book signing, is free and open to the public. The Grunin Center is located on the Ocean County College Main Campus, on College Drive in Toms River.

O’Brien received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel “Going After Cacciato,” and his work “In the Lake of the Woods,” published in 1994, was chosen by Time Magazineas the best novel of that year. The book also received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times

In 2005, “The Things They Carried” was named by The New York Timesas one of the 22 best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of “The Things They Carried” received one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. The title story from “The Things They Carried” received the National Magazine Award and was selected by John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century.  

In 2010, O’Brien received the Katherine Anne Porter Award, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for a distinguished lifetime body of work. Two years later, he received the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. In 2013, O’Brien received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from the Pritzker Military Library, and in 2018 he received the Mark Twain Award in literature. 

O’Brien’s short fiction has appeared in The New YorkerThe AtlanticEsquirePlayboyHarper’s Magazine, and numerous editions of The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Short Stories. His novels have sold more than six million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

This event is presented by: the Toms River Regional School District, NEA Big Read, Ocean County College, and the Ocean County College Foundation. For more information, contact the Grunin Center at 732-255-0500 or visit

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