Titles from Bernardine Evaristo, Margaret Atwood, John le Carré, Marlon James, Seamus Heaney, Hilary Mantel and Andrea Levy part of the BBC and The Reading Agency’s Big Jubilee Read.
BBC Arts and The Reading Agency have announced the titles for the Big Jubilee Read, a reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads from celebrated authors from across the Commonwealth to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The full list can be found here.
The seventy titles consist of ten books from each decade of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign, offering a brilliant selection of beautiful and thrilling writing produced by authors from a wide range of Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, UK. Renowned authors Margaret Atwood, E. R. Braithwaite, Anthony Burgess, John le Carré, Bernardine Evaristo, Seamus Heaney, Kazuo Ishiguro, Marlon James, Hilary Mantel, Andrea Levy, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Douglas Stuart, Derek Walcott, and Markus Zusak are included. The campaign enables readers to engage in the discovery and celebration of great books and shines a spotlight on lesser-known books and authors that deserve recognition.
The books were chosen by an expert panel of librarians, booksellers and literature specialists from a “readers’ choice” longlist. Delivered with public libraries, reading groups, publishers, bookshops, and authors, the Big Jubilee Read campaign will use the proven power of reading to unite the public around the shared stories that define our social and cultural heritage. It will be supported by events and activities in libraries and bookshops, and there are resources available for reading groups across the country, which can be found here. Additionally, there is programming reflecting the Big Jubilee Read across the BBC, including on BBC Two’s Between the Covers and BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, which hosted a special programme on Monday 18 April from Birmingham Library, presented by Samira Ahmed with guests including author Kit de Waal and the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah. You can catch up on the episode now on BBC Sounds. Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners features on BBC iPlayer, having been broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 10 April in an episode of The Read.
The Big Jubilee Read campaign will be delivered in partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency. It received funding of £185,000 from Arts Council England and is supported by Libraries Connected and the Booksellers Association. It follows on from other collaborations between The Reading Agency and the BBC, including the national Big Read survey in 2003.
Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV at the BBC said:
“Nineteen years on from the Big Read, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee feels like the perfect opportunity to foreground some of the greatest writing from across the Commonwealth in our Big Jubilee Read. The list of 70 books – ten for each decade of Elizabeth II’s reign – is a real opportunity to discover stories from across continents and taking us through the decades, books that we might never have otherwise read, and reading authors whose work deserves a spotlight to be shone on it. It’s a really exciting way to share the love of books with readers of all ages, and to give book groups and book borrowers a plethora of great titles to try, borrow, share and discuss.”
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said:
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with BBC to celebrate the proven power of reading at this historic moment of national celebration. The Reading Agency hugely values the support of our library partners bringing this fantastic book list to life in the heart of communities across the country this summer.”
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