23rd Annual Moby-Dick Marathon

January 4 – 6, 2019

Join us for the 23rd annual read-a-thon 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. In addition to the main event, the Whaling Museum hosts two mini-marathons on January 5: a Portuguese-language reading of Tiago Patricio’s abridged Moby-Dick, and a children’s version by Classic Starts.


Sign up to be a part of the Marathon!

Reader spots are extremely limited. 
Please register online below for the Main Marathon, Portuguese Marathon, Children’s Marathon, and/or to enter the drawing for a coveted seat at the historic Seamen’s Bethel (seats are extremely limited).
Ways to Register:
Via Email mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org
Online Form (preferred method, open 24 hours)

Main Moby-Dick Marathon
Portuguese Marathon
Children’s Marathon
Seamen’s Bethel Seats

The Marathon Reading Timetable (pdf) gives the approximate time, page and chapter in the book for each Watch.

Registration closes at 5 pm November 30. Readers will be notified by December 7.

Family reads on the Lagoda

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 4

5:30 – 9:00 pm
Pre-marathon Dinner and Presentation
Enjoy a meal well-suited for hungry sailors followed by an illustrated discussion “Gender and the Man’s World of Moby-Dick” by Jennifer Baker, Melville Scholar.

Ticket Required
Members $40 | Non-members $50
Purchase online here or call 508-997-0046 ext. 100.


Saturday, January 5

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 Moby-Dick Marathon
Children of all ages can read a section of an abridged version of Moby-Dick by Classic Starts.

12 pm The Main Attraction
The 23rd 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 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 fourth 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 quarto 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 & the Decanter Taproom
Recharge and warm up with New Bedford’s finest soups and brews – guaranteed to get you through the night.


Sunday, January 6

8 am 20th Hour Treat
Enjoy malassadas to fuel you up for the home stretch!

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


* schedule is subject to change as timing of Marathon is dependent upon reading pace.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

Marathon Sponsors


Allan Smith logo


Buzzards Bay Brewing logo


Empire Loan Logo



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 and Whaler’s Tavern.