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2016's selected title was The Humans by Matt Haig. It was an overwhelming success of a choice, with feedback from students, staff and the local community letting us know just how much they enjoyed it.
Matt also joined us for two author events which both received a great and varied turnout as well as visiting local homeless shelter, Joel Community Project, where he also spoke with their guests about the book, his work and their own experiences.
Set in Cambridge, The Humans is a love story, a murder story and a ‘what-are-we-here-for?' story. It looks at the fundamentals of human existence from an alien perspective: as this story develops, so the narrator and his narration change. Much of the first half of the novel is taken up by his puzzled analyses of primitive human ways but as his emotional attachment grows so too do his reflections on the odd appeal of our short and brutish lives, and especially on our gift for love.
Matt is an British novelist most well-known for his young adult and speculative fiction titles. His autobiographical title Reasons to Stay Alive has received much critical acclaim and drawn much-needed attention to the issue of mental health in men and boys.
Known also as Little Bee in the US, The Other Hand is a dual narrative story about a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta. The novel examines the treatment of refugees by the asylum system, as well as issues of British colonialism, globalisation, political violence and personal accountability.
Chris is an English novelist and columnist for The Guardian who has been nominated for several awards over the years. One of his novels is to be made into a movie adaptation by BBC Films.
Written from the perspective of a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome witnessing and trying to make sense of the events of the Syrian conflict, The Boy from Aleppo is a raw and gripping tale which chronicles the intimate sufferings of a family in the midst of civil war.
Sumia is a former creative writing student who studied at Kingston University. Of Syrian and Algerian descent, her first novel was published at the age of only 22 when her tutor was so impressed by her work that he secured a publishing deal for her.
Red Dust Road is a heart-warming memoir full of unexpected twists and deep emotions in which adopted Jackie Kay lays out her journey of tracing and finding her Scottish birth mother and Nigerian birth father.
Jackie Kay MBE is a much loved poet and author of mixed Scottish and Nigerian descent. Jackie has won numerous awards for her work whilst holding academic positions at Newcastle University and Glasgow Caledonian University. She is currently Chancellor of the University of Salford.
A non-fiction title, Feral is part journal and part natural history, stemming from the rigorous research for which George Monbiot is well known. A gripping story of Monbiot's efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living. He shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives.
George is a well-known British writer and journalist for The Guardian with a passion for environmental and political activism. In 1995, Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews and the University of Essex, as well as an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University.
A modern-day reimaging of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Boy Meets Girl is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations.
Ali Smith CBE is a full-time Scottish author of numerous short story collections and novels. She regularly contributes to The Guardian, The Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement.