Indiana ready to celebrate Frankenstein’s 200th birthday

On Jan. 1, 2018 we’ll celebrate the 200th birthday of “Frankenstein”—a book that was originally published by an anonymous author (19-year-old Mary Shelley) that would go on to open up new literary genres, inspire countless films and books, create a pop-culture phenomenon and continue to raise important questions about science and technology for generations. 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.

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.

Written by teenage Mary Shelley in 1818, “Frankenstein” tells the story of a young scientist who created a grotesque living creature through a scientific experiment and was horrified by what he had made.

“When it comes to asking the hard questions at the hear of scientific investigation, perhaps no book has ever topped ‘Frankenstein,’ said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “The book raises big questions about right and wrong, how we live in the world and the relationship between science and society, among others. But it’s also a book that allows us to have a little fun, too, and can resonate across multiple generations. We look forward to engaging the entire state in relevant, thought-provoking and engaging activities.”

One State / One Story: Frankenstein is part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year Quantum Leap initiative, which encourages Hoosiers to celebrate what happens when we bridge the humanities with STEM.

More information about the individual programs is available at

About Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap is an Indiana Humanities initiative that encourages Hoosiers to explore and celebrate the spirit of possibility and problem-solving that occurs when we bridge the humanities with science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. Learn more at

About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Indiana Humanities is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Lilly Endowment, Inc. Learn more at

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Humanities