Moby-Dick Marathon logo

Melville returns to Provincetown with the fourth annual Provincetown Public Library Moby-Dick Marathon Reading in April 2019. Joining New Bedford, MA, Mystic, CT, and New York City, this Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates Provincetown’s significant whaling heritage, as well as its history as the nation’s oldest continuous art colony.  Published in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick chronicles the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on a massive white whale responsible for destroying his ship and severing his leg at the knee during a previous voyage.  The three-day marathon reading of this nineteenth century masterwork will be held at the Provincetown Library on the starboard side of the Rose Dorothea Model, and officially begins at 12:00 pm on Friday, April 26.  The full weekend reading schedule is as follows:

Friday, April 26: 12 pm to 6 pm
Saturday, April 27: 10 am to 10 pm
Sunday, April 28: 10 am to 4 pm

Provincetown holds a rich whaling history dating back to the early 18th century when skilled Portuguese seamen settled at Land’s End where they started families, manned ships, and became captains of their own vessels.  By 1870, the whaling industry had created a since-unrivaled era of prosperity in Provincetown, then ranking as one of the richest towns in Massachusetts. In the century between 1820 and 1920, more than 160 vessels were outfitted from Provincetown, ranking her third in the U.S. in voyages launched (902).

Uniting members of Provincetown’s literary, art, theater, and academic communities, the event will bring together over 120 participants at the Provincetown Library to read Melville’s classic work aloud over a total of 24 hours. Passages of roughly five pages each are read throughout the weekend by the community, visitors, library staff, trustees and Melville enthusiasts. The past three editions of the Marathon were a tremendous success, bringing over 1,000 visitors combined to the Library.  Admission to the Marathon is free.

This year, in commemoration of Melville’s 200th birthday, we are honored to announce that actor and Melville performer, Stephen Collins, will open the fourth annual Provincetown Moby-Dick Marathon with “Call me Ishmael,” on Friday, April 26th at 12:00 pm.  Collins will also conclude the first day of the Marathon with a performance of Sailing Towards My Father, a one-man play about Herman Melville at 7:00 pm.

Hosted by the Library Board of Trustees, presenting sponsor Bay State Cruises is joined by the Friends of the Provincetown Public Library in welcoming Collins as the featured orator.  For the second year, the Marathon will feature a logo created by artist Peter Michael Martin, who specializes in black paper cutting and whose exhibit Moby Dick: Inspired Visions will be displayed at the Cape Cod Museum of Art June 13 through August 25, 2019. Angel Foods’ Liz Lovati will provide an on-site café with snacks and beverages.

Those interested in participating as readers in this year’s edition of the Provincetown Public Library Moby-Dick Marathon Reading are encouraged to contact Assistant Director Brittany Taylor at or 508-487-7094

Special Thanks to Our 2019 Sponsors

Bay State Cruises

Presenting Sponsor: Bay State Cruise Company

Andrew Aull

Andrew Aull

Andrew Aull

Friends of the Provincetown Public Library