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Big Read: Alumni Chapter

Our innovative outreach programme, the Kingston University Big Read, has been nominated for Widening Participation / Outreach programme of the year in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards. The programme began as a way to welcome new students to KU, and we couldn't be prouder at how much success it has had in just three years.

New students are not the only people we want to feel welcome at Kingston, though. As alumni, we want you to always feel that this is your university, no matter how long it is since you graduated. We'd love to welcome our alumni back to Kingston University - either virtually or in person - and so for the first time, we are extending the Kingston University Big Read programme to our alumni too.

What is the Kingston University Big Read?

For the last three years, we've sent every new student a limited Kingston University edition of a novel which has been specially selected to welcome them to life at Kingston University. Current students and staff were also invited to take part, and we worked with public libraries and two local homeless shelters in Kingston in order to spread the joy of reading and further strengthen our links with our local community. Our first book in 2015 was Kingston University graduate Nick Hornby's About A Boy. In 2016, we read Matt Haig's The Humans, and for the 2017 academic year we are reading Kit de Waal's My Name Is Leon.

The Kingston University Big Read: Alumni Chapter

My Name Is Leon is a coming-of-age story told through the eyes of nine year old Leon, a mixed-race boy who is separated from his white younger brother when he enters the care system. Set against the racial tensions of the early 1980s, we follow Leon as he struggles to work out what really makes a family. Author Kit de Waal will be coming to speak at KU this October, while award-winning poet and care leaver himself, Lemn Sissay will be visiting us in February 2018. We would love you to join the rest of the KU community in reading along with us.

Membership of the Kingston University Big Read: Alumni Chapter is £25 per year. After the cost of getting your book to you is deducted, 100% of your membership will be split evenly between building the Big Read project even further, and enabling students from disadvantaged backgrounds, like Leon, to thrive at Kingston.

Members of the Kingston University Big Read: Alumni Chapter will:

  • Receive their Kingston University Big Read book at the start of the academic year alongside new Kingston-bound students. Each book is a special edition, with a welcome message from the Vice-Chancellor and a unique letter from the book's author.
  • Be invited to exclusive ‘Meet the Author' events - Kit De Waal will be speaking at Kingston University on the 25 October 2017. This event will only be open to current students and Kingston University Big Read: Alumni Chapter members.
  • Be welcomed into the University-wide Kingston University Big Read online discussion groups with academic staff and students. 
  • Be part of a small audience with award-winning poet, and likely Britain's best-known care leaver, Lemn Sissay on the 21 February 2018, hosted by the department of social work.
  • Support the Big Read project into the future and also help provide bursaries and additional pastoral support to our students who have left care - like Leon, the protagonist of this year's book.

We hope you will join us and stay involved in the Kingston University community at whatever level suits you. Whether that be through attending events in person, engaging in online discussions with academics or simply reading along in private, we hope you find this an enjoyable and stimulating way of keeping involved with your university.

To sign up, please visit our membership page. If you have any questions, please never hesitate to get in touch with the Alumni team at alumni@kingston.ac.uk. We hope to hear from you soon.

Contact us

Development, Alumni Relations and Engagement
Kingston University
Hind Court
106–114 London Road
Kingston Upon Thames
KT2 6TN

Alumni relations:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3178
Email us

Fundraising and Annual Fund:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3299
Email us

Any other queries:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3664

Contact us

Development, Alumni Relations and Engagement
Kingston University
Hind Court
106–114 London Road
Kingston Upon Thames
KT2 6TN

Alumni relations:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3178
Email us

Fundraising and Annual Fund:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3299
Email us

Any other queries:
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3664

Alumni
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