Skip to content

Authors from across the world join in the Big Jubilee Read

Join The Reading Agency with Libraries Connected for a national series of events for the Big Jubilee Read, celebrating great reads from authors across the Commonwealth to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Run in collaboration with six regional Libraries Connected Networks, the series was streamed on YouTube and accompanies the Big Jubilee Read booklist, a selection of beautiful and thrilling writing produced by authors from a wide range of Commonwealth countries which help readers to engage in the discovery and celebration of great books. The event programme explored six key themes influencing writing, including journeys and migration, multiculturalism and diversity.

Writing from Across the Commonwealth

In the lead-up to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the series launched with a special event with Libraries Connected West Midlands, exploring writing from across the Commonwealth. Chaired by journalist Sarah Shaffi, authors Jing-Jing Lee (How We Disappeared – Singapore), Jacob Ross (The Bone Readers – Grenada) and Markus Zusak (The Book Thief – Australia) came together to discuss what the future for writing from the Commonwealth looks like and who will tell its stories.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Journeys in the Commonwealth

The movement of people has been central to the historical importance of the Commonwealth. Nam Le (The Boat – Vietnam/Australia) and Kate Grenville (The Secret River – Australia) come together with Sue Williamson from Arts Council England to discuss the journeys represented in their books, as well as and to look at how migration has changed the shape of the modern world. Held in partnership with Libraries Connected South West.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Commonwealth Pride

Two Booker Prize winners, Marlon James (The Book of Night Women – Jamaica) and Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain – Scotland), are joined by Uli Lenart of Gay’s the Word bookshop to share stories of their writing and experiences. They discuss their books, what it means to write from an LGBT+ perspective, as well as their favourite picks from the Big Jubilee Read booklist. Held in partnership with Libraries Connected South East.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Women’s Words

Poet, vlogger and presenter Leena Norms, will be joined by authors Yangsze Choo (The Night Tiger – Malaysia), Tahmima Anam (A Golden Age – Bangladesh) and Scholastique Mukasonga (Our Lady of the Nile – Rwanda), and translator Melanie Mauthner for a celebration of writing by women from across the Commonwealth. Held in partnership with Libraries Connected East of England.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Winning the Booker Prize

The Booker Prize and the Big Jubilee Read unite together to celebrate the connection with one of the world’s leading literary prizes. Previous Booker Prize winners, Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s Ark – Australia, Booker Prize winner 1982) and Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries – New Zealand, Booker Prize winner 2013) join us to discuss their books, literary inspirations, and the impact of winning the Booker Prize on their writing careers. Held in partnership with Libraries Connected East Midlands.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Celebrating the Joy of Reading

In our final event as part of the Big Jubilee Read series we look back across the last 70 years of great reads and choose some of our favourite books on the list. Hosted by Yvonne Bailey-Smith, Celebrating the Joy of Reading features academic Susheila Nasta, publisher Margaret Busby and Booker Prize winning author Damon Galgut (The Promise – South Africa) talking about their work and their favourite books on the list. Held in partnership with Libraries Connected London.

Catch up on The Reading Agency YouTube now.

Catch up on all episodes in the series now.

To hear the latest news, events and opportunities about the Big Jubilee Read, enter your details below.

Create your own user feedback survey

Resources for your reading group

Your reading group can join in the Big Jubilee Read by choosing one or more titles to read and discuss. Use the resources dedicated to each decade of books to spark conversation.


Log in or Sign up to add a comment


Radio 2 Book Club - Winter titles

The Winter season of the Radio 2 Book Club is out now, with brilliant brand-new fiction titles to discover. The BBC Radio 2 Book Club is on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. It features a wide range of titles and authors, recommending great reads from both new and much-loved writers, encouraging listeners to perhaps try out a genre they might not have read before, and share their opinions and insights on the titles and great reads they’re enjoying right now.


How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started. You can also download icebreaker questions to help get your discussion started, and a social media guide to show how you can share your reading with others online.


UK’s Best Book Festivals of 2024

The UK is full of book festivals, and as we head into the summer, they’re popping up all over the country and are perfect for your book club to have a day, weekend or even week out. Book festivals are a brilliant opportunity to hear from your favourite writers, discover new ones, and meet other like-minded booklovers. You’ll be sure to walk away with a bag full of new books to enjoy! We’ve put together a list of some of our team’s favourite festivals. Can’t see one near you? You can watch...

View our other programmes