2021 Moby-Dick Marathon

Friday, January 8, 2021 – Sunday, January 10, 2021

Moby-Dick Marathon graphic black letters on white background


Call Me Ishmael Raffle  |  Dinner and Lecture  |  Schedule of Events  |  Moby-Dick Marathon Reading Timetable (pdf)  |  Sponsorship Opportunities

Join us for the 25th anniversary of the annual readathon of America’s most iconic novel, Moby-Dick. An experience you don’t want to miss, you’ll relive the famous, action-packed narrative and be transported back in time on the search for the elusive white whale.

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.” Moby-Dick

This year’s marathon will be a bit different than past years with a majority of our activities being virtual. Rest assured, you’ll still be drawn in by the drama and excitement of the chase, and there will be plenty of opportunities to dive a bit deeper into the context of the story and its many derived meanings.
We are currently re-imagining all aspects of the Marathon. Details and schedule of events will be posted here as they are finalized.


Reader Signup is Closed

Deadline for reader drawing sign closed November 5. Readers have been notified. If you have any questions, please send them to jnunes@whalingmuseum.org.

Call Me Ishmael Raffle

detail opening text from Moby DickEach year, one lucky marathoner is invited to kick off the journey and read those famous opening lines, “Call me Ishmael.” This year, instead of choosing one reader to be our “Ishmael,” we are giving everyone a chance to take to the sea and start us on our voyage. Simply buy a “Call Me Ishmael Raffle Ticket” for a chance to win the coveted spot.

One raffle ticket gets you one chance to be picked as Ishmael. There is no cap on how many tickets you can purchase. The proceeds of this raffle will help the Museum continue to deliver engaging programming and exhibitions.

Purchase Raffle Ticket HERE

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

If you would like to be a sponsor for the 25th anniversary of the Moby-Dick Marathon, please contact development@whalingmuseum.org or call 508-717-6832.


Schedule of Events

Times are approximate and are dependent on the reading pace of the Marathon

All weekend long!

Cousin Hosea’s Chowder Hall and the Decanter Taproom
Even though we aren’t together in person, you can enjoy a warm meal and tasty brews from the comfort of your own home. Local restaurant Moby-Dick Brewery and delivery service Gotchew have partnered with us to keep this tradition going. Order at any point during the weekend! Delivery service area is limited to within 20 miles of downtown New Bedford. (link to come)

Moby-Dick Marathon Trivia!

Are you a Moby-Dick wiz? Put your knowledge to the test with a trivia game created by Melville Scholars. (link to come)


Friday, January 8

Opening Night Dinner & Lecture

“A Wonder, a Grandeur, and a Woe”: Melville and Human Progress with Steven Olsen-Smith
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (EST)
Members $10 │ Non-members $15
Purchase Tickets Here

Kick off this year’s Moby-Dick Marathon with a lively virtual presentation by Steven Olsen-Smith, current Professor at Boise State University and editor of Melville’s Marginalia Online. The talk will look closely at Melville’s body of work to trace his conception of our prospects for edification and advancement. Steven will explore how admirers of Herman Melville might ponder anew Melville’s conception of humanity’s capacity for individual, social, and evolutionary growth.

Steven Olsen-Smith is a past president of the Melville Society, and he has held visiting appointments as the Holland H. Coors Endowed Chair at the United States Air Force Academy. Olsen-Smith’s research explores the influence of Melville’s reading and sources on Moby-Dick and other writings.

Although we are not gathering in person, Moby-Dick Brewery and local delivery service, Gotchew, have teamed up to deliver a special meal well-suited for a hungry sailor to accompany the opening lecture. Delivery service area is limited to within 20 miles of downtown New Bedford. Dinner is not included with lecture ticket price and must be ordered through Gotchew. (link to come)


Saturday, January 9 – The Marathon, Day 1

In this year’s re-imagined marathon, there will not be a live audience, but read along from home (or wherever you are)! Join us here. (link to come)

11:30 am (EST)  Extracts – Read by members of the Melville Society Cultural Project

12:00 pm (EST)  Main reading begins, Ch. 1

2:30 pm (EST)  Virtual Chat with Melville Scholars (exclusive access to Melville Scholars to ask them anything and everything Melville) via Zoom. Click Here to Join. 

7:00 pm (EST)  Midnight on the Forecastle, Ch. 40 – Performed by Culture*Park

8:00 pm (EST) Virtual Readings Resume, Ch. 41


Sunday, January 10 – The Marathon, Day 2

10:00 am (EST) Virtual Talk – Visualizing Melville: An Exhibition of Words, Ideas, Images, and Objects – via Zoom. Click Here to Join.
Join Michael P. Dyer, the Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, as he parallels the text of Moby-Dick and of other Melville books with artworks that bring the text into a more interpretive, more subjective, visual experience.

11:00 am (EST) The Chase Chapters, Ch. 133 – Ch. 135

12:00 pm (EST) Epilogue, finis


Thank You to Our Sponsors

Design Principles logo