Annual Reading Of "Moby Dick" Returns Virtually With Special Guests

Photo: Photo: New Bedford Whaling Museum

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The New Bedford Whaling Museum is kicking off its annual Moby-Dick Marathon this weekend, with the help of some celebrities and special guests.

The event, which is being held virtually this year, is a 25-hour long read-a-thon of the classic book "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, that features the city of New Bedford. The event has been put on since 1977 and features a different person reading each chapter until the book is completed. The reading of each section is streamed live on the museum's YouTube channel.

This year's group of readers includes appearances from many celebrities, local lawmakers, and fans of the book known as "Melville aficionados".

Actor Sam Waterston, known for his roles in "Law & Order" and "Grace & Frankie", read the opening chapter of the book. Waterson is a "Melville aficionado" himself and once read the part of the book's main character, Ishmael, at a 150th-anniversary celebration of the book in Tanglewood back in 2001, according to a statement from the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

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Local politicians including Sen. Ed Markey and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell also are the schedule to read a section. Amanda McMullen, President and CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum said in a statement she was excited to have big names participate in the event.

“Over the years, the Whaling Museum has hosted an outstanding array of celebrities, academics, and public officials for the Moby-Dick Marathon,” McMullen said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have the participation of all our readers—200 strong—and know that their passion for Melville and heartfelt commitment to New Bedford will help make the 2022 marathon the most exciting and engaging yet.”

The last chapter is scheduled to be finished around 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 9.

WBZ's Mike Macklin reports.

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