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Big Eurovision Read Booklist Announced

The Reading Agency has unveiled plans for the Big Eurovision Read, a reading-for-pleasure campaign celebrating music and reading, to mark the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, hosted in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine on 13 May.

The Eurovision Song Contest airs live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this May. Watch Semi Final 1 on May 9, Semi Final 2 on May 11 and the Grand Final on May 13.

Supported by BBC Arts, The Big Eurovision Read features a booklist of 12 titles by celebrated authors including Rachel Joyce, Terry Pratchett and Stormzy; and two weeks of workshops, events and readings in a pop-up reading den outside Liverpool Central Library as part of EuroFestival Culture Liverpool’s two-week cultural festival taking over the city in the lead up to the contest.

The aim is for book-lovers and Eurovision fans to be ‘United by Music’. To get the conversation started, librarians across the UK have chosen twelve great books which have the power of music at their heart, and which will encourage readers to suggest other great titles with a musical theme.

From fiction to biographies, these 12 – or ‘douze’ titles – were curated by an expert panel of librarians. Delivered with public libraries, publishers, and authors, the Big Eurovision Read campaign will celebrate the power that music, books and great writing have to transform lives and inspire generations.

The Big Eurovision Read Titles

These books will be available to explore and enjoy at the Reading Den, a dedicated space that will pop up in Liverpool for EuroFestival, where visitors will be invited to add their own suggestions of books about the power of music. Open to all, and in partnership with Liverpool Libraries, the Big Eurovision Read Reading Den invites you to relax with a book or dive into a series of talks and workshops!

The Big Eurovision Read campaign is delivered in partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency with support from public libraries and funding from Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, as part of EuroFestival.

Rachel Joyce, Author said:

“It’s a complete honour to be part of this scheme, and to be one of such a powerful selection of books. Reading and music go hand in hand, finding an expression for what at times seems inexpressible, and proving it is possible for us to be joined beyond the boundaries of place and time. I shall be reading the complete set.”  

Nick Hornby, Author, said:

“I’m so pleased that High Fidelity is on the Big Eurovision Read book list. Reading and music are two great sources of joy that have the power to bring people together and I can’t wait to see new readers enjoy the book for the first time.” 

Matt Cain, Author, said:

“When I wrote The Madonna of Bolton, I wanted to celebrate the healing, transformative power of music and the emotional support it has given so many of us – me included. Ever since its publication, I’ve been thrilled to see this theme resonate with so many readers. I’m now over the moon that the book has been selected to be part of a campaign that has exactly the same objective. And to see it appear alongside the work of some of my favourite authors – such as Rachel Joyce and Nick Hornby – is a dream come true. Happy Eurovision, everyone!” 

Stephen James Yeoman, Commissioning Exec, BBC Arts & Classical Music TV  said:

“Listening to great music and reading a gripping book both have the ability to be uplifting and enriching. As the UK prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, it is a great moment to combine these two wonderful art forms and celebrate 12 fantastic reads which have at their heart stories about the power of music.

I’m extremely grateful to the librarians across the UK who suggested these 12 titles as a conversation starter and to the Reading Agency, with the support of Culture Liverpool, to help share these books with visitors to Liverpool during Eurovision. I hope readers across the UK, and across the Eurovision family, will enjoy these titles as well as suggest more great reads for others to enjoy." 

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said:

“We’re really excited to be partnering with BBC Arts to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest this year and celebrating the power of reading and music. The Reading Agency hugely values the support of our library partners bringing this exciting book list to life in the heart of communities across the country this summer.” 

Culture Liverpool Director, Claire McColgan CBE, said:

“We love The Big Eurovision Read commission – it’s an imaginative and engaging way to bring people along with us on our exciting Eurovision journey.  It’s music to our ears to see our libraries incorporated in this fantastic celebration of reading and music.”

Follow the latest developments on social media:
@ReadingAgency @BBCArts @ACE_National


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