The Moby-Dick Marathon

Thank you to all participants for another successful Moby-Dick Marathon. See you again at the 2016 Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10, 2016!

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop public reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events. Our annual event started in 1997 and is now considered one of the world’s best known readathons.

Every year, early in January, a local celebrity figure traditionally kicks-off the reading, beginning with the most famous opening line in American literature, "Call me Ishmael." From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, more than 150 readers each read a short passage from this novel. Some read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and/or French, followed by that same passage in English. One passage is read from Braille.  The Seamen’s Bethel hosts the singing of “The Ribs and Terrors in the Whale” and the reading of Father Mapple’s sermon. At the end, a few hardy souls will have stayed for the whole adventure.

Readers include professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, students, congressmen, mayors, city councillors, journalists, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick.

Moby-Dick Marathon videos from previous years are now viewable on Vimeo.

Click here to visit The 19th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon webpage. The entire reading was broadcast via audio livestream on the Whaling Museum website, allowing Moby-Dick enthusiasts around the globe to follow along. Periodic updates were posted via Twitter using #mdm19.



The 19th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon was sponsored by:


Fred Borges Electric Inc. logo


Logo of The Pour Farm Tavern


Destination New Bedford logo

2015 Livestream Sponsors
Noon  – 2:00 p.m. Saturday: Empire Loan Charitable Foundation
2:00 – 4:00  p.m. Saturday: Fred Borges Electrical
3:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. Sunday: Pour Farm Tavern
11:00 a.m. Sunday to end of Marathon: Empire Loan Charitable Foundation

Last modified: May 28, 2013