22nd Annual Moby-Dick Marathon

January 5–7, 2018

Join us for the 22nd 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.

Moby Dick Marathon reader

Be Part of the Marathon! Sign up to be a volunteer reader.

Reader spots are extremely limited so mark your calendars.
Registration opens at 12:01 am, Tuesday, November 7


Get a seat at the Bethel!

Part of the Marathon takes place across the street from the Museum at the famous Seamen’s Bethel, where Herman Melville found his inspiration for Father Mapple’s legendary sermon. Seating is very limited, so you must enter a drawing to get a coveted seat. Enter the drawing (available here soon) on or after November 7 and we will notify you in advance if your name is selected. Don’t fret if your name isn’t selected; you can still enjoy the live streaming marathon from the comfort of the Museum’s theater.


Schedule of Events

Friday, January 5

5:30 pm – 9 pm
Pre-marathon Dinner, Movie, and Discussion
Enjoy a meal well-suited for hungry sailors followed by a documentary film Call Us Ishmael by David Shaerf. The Melville Society Cultural Project will conclude the night with a lively discussion of the film.

Saturday, January 6

The Marathon Experience:
From 10 am Saturday to 1 pm Sunday

10 am Stump the Scholars
Test your knowledge of Moby-Dick and try to Stump the Scholars with questions for Melville Society Cultural Project members.

10 am Children’s Mini-Marathon
Children of all ages can read a section of an abridged version of Moby-Dick by Classic Starts.

Reserve a child’s reading spot. Registration opens at 12:01 am, Tuesday, November 7.


12 pm The Main Attraction
The 22nd Annual Moby-Dick Marathon reading begins with celebrity readers nestled among the world’s largest model whaleship – the Lagoda. Next, head to the Seamen’s Bethel to hear Father Mapple’s rousing sermon (if your name is drawn in the seat raffle. Otherwise, watch a live-stream of the sermon in the Museum’s theater.) Readings continue while overlooking the New Bedford Harbor, with the exception of Chapter 40, “Forecastle-Midnight” in the Museum’s theater with Culture*Park. Listen to excerpts read in multiple languages, bringing to life Melville’s experience of a culturally diverse whaling crew.

3 pm Portuguese Mini-Marathon
Join us for the third annual reading of Tiago Patricio’s abridged version of Moby-Dick in Portuguese. Read Melville in the Azorean Whaleman Gallery with forty other intrepid souls.

Junte-nos para a terceira leitura anual de versão abreviada de Tiago Patricio de Moby- Dick em Português. Leia Melville na Galeria do Baleeiro Açoreano com quarenta outras almas intrépidos.

Special thanks to the Azorean Maritime Historical Society and the Portuguese Consulate of New Bedford.

Um agradecimento especial ao Azorean Maritime Historical Society e ao Consulado de Portugal em New Bedford.

5 pm Cousin Hosea’s Chowder House
Recharge and warm up with New Bedford’s finest chowders from local restaurants – Destination Soups, Freestones, Tia Maria’s, and Whalers’ Tavern. Guaranteed to get you through the night!

Sunday, January 7

8 am The 20th-Hour Feast
Enjoy malasadas and all the trimmings to fuel you up for the home stretch!

Around 1 pm Epilogue
A few souls will be richly rewarded for impressively staying up all night.





Thank you to our Marathon Sponsors!


Allan Smith logo



Buzzards Bay Brewing logo


Empire Loan Logo




Thank you to our Marathon Partners!


pidalia logo


Azorean Maritime Heritage Society logo


Consulate of Portugal in New Bedford logo


Chowder Sponsors

Chowder provided by Destination Soups, Freestone’s City Grill, Tia Maria’s European Cafe and Whaler’s Tavern.


Last modified: October 19, 2017