The Big Read 2020

We are extremely excited to announce that Airhead, by award-winning broadcast journalist Emily Maitlis has been chosen as this year's Big Read! Emily will be visiting campus to give a talk and sign books in early 2021.

This summer we will be hosting our first ever virtual Book Club. During these unique online events, you will be able to hear a wide variety of Kingston staff members relate their fields of expertise to specific chapters from Airhead. These talks will be held weekly from 8 July 2020 - 16 September 2020. This is a great opportunity to connect with your new KU community before you arrive on campus. To reserve your free tickets to these events, please visit our Kingston University Big Read Book Club page.

Additional information on the 2020 Big Read, previous winners and shortlisted books, FAQs and more are also available through the links at the bottom of this page.

Airhead by Emily Maitlis

From Prince Andrew to David Attenborough, Donald Trump and Emma Thompson, Maitlis has met some of the most influential people in politics and entertainment. Her book dives into the challenges of producing nuanced, contextualised coverage in an ever-accelerating news cycle. Her accounts range from profound experiences reporting on tragedies, to more surreal and humorous interactions with familiar faces.

Publisher

Penguin

Genre

Memoir

About Emily Maitlis

Emily Maitlis was born in Ontario, Canada and grew up in Sheffield, the youngest of three sisters. She graduated from Cambridge and began her journalism career on a radio news programme in Hong Kong. She joined the BBC in 2001 and last year became the lead anchor of Newsnight's first ever all-female team. Her reporting has resonated with viewers, with more than 265,000 followers on Twitter. In 2017 she was named Broadcast Journalist of the Year at the London Press Club Awards. At the RTS Television Journalism Awards she won Network Presenter of the Year in both 2019 and 2020.

Shortlisted books

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben

A heartfelt, sweeping look at humanity from the eyes of a dog who has witnessed centuries of our history. Our unnamed canine narrator and his alchemist master have used their gift of immortality to travel the world. They've attended royal courts and provided aid on battlefields. But when they become separated in Venice, they must rely on their loyalty and survival skills to find their way back to each other, as the centuries turn and war breaks out across the world.

Publisher

Penguin

Genre

Historical Fiction, Fantasy

About Damian Dibben

Damian Dibben is a London-based author and screenwriter, whose credits include Puss in Boots and The Phantom of the Opera. He is also a patron for the assistance dog charity Dogs for Good and an ambassador for Kids in Museums.

The Making of Mr Hai's Daughter by Yasmin Hai

Yasmin Hai uses both humour and earnest reflection to bring us into the world of her childhood-the Muslim community of North London in the 1970s. Her story is made all the more complex and fascinating by her father, who fled political persecution in Pakistan, and was determined to raise his children in a quintessentially British fashion. From Shakespeare and Milly-Molly-Mandy haircuts (but a conspicuous lack of football and popular films) she documents the successes and failures of this approach, and the consequences of being distanced from her family's heritage.

Publisher

Virago

Genre

Memoir

About Yasmin Hai

Yasmin Hai is a London-based current affairs journalist and documentary producer and director. She has appeared on BBC's Newsnight and worked on several award-winning documentaries for Channel 4.

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession

The title characters of this tale are best friends who are content with their gentle, somewhat quirky lives. But Leonard is facing a pack of simultaneous changes. He's lost his mother, and might just have gained a girlfriend. Hungry Paul on the other hand seems as static as ever. As grief and new romance rearrange his life, Leonard struggles to find the place where his friend fits in.

Publisher

Bluemoose Books (small independent)

Genre

Contemporary Fiction

About Rónán Hession

Rónán Hession is a Dublin-based author and musician who has released three albums of storytelling songs. Leonard and Hungry Paul is his first novel and was shortlisted for the 2019 Books Are My Bag Readers Award.

Bitter Sixteen by Stefan Mohamed

An energetic, wise-cracking story about a boy figuring out who he is and what's important to him, told through the fantastical lens of superpowers. Stanly Bird may be best friends with a talking Beagle named Daryl, and he may have mysteriously gained the ability to fly on his sixteenth birthday, but he's an otherwise normal teenager. He's not exactly sure how to find superhero opportunities in his small Welsh town, or if he wants them. Unfortunately his cousin knows more than he's letting on, and Stanly might not have a choice in keeping his quiet, anonymous lifestyle.

Publisher

Salt Publishing (small independent)

Genre

Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction

About Stefan Mohamed

Stefan Mohamed graduated from Kingston University and won the inaugural Sony Reader Award in 2010. He is based in Bristol and performs spoken word poetry in addition to writing novels.

Step by Step by Simon Reeve

As a television presenter, Reeve has sought out locations that are ‘extreme', whether for their beauty, remoteness, danger or other qualities. His memoir is a behind-the-scenes look at his travels, including a near-death brush with malaria. He traces his path from a troubled adolescence with hardly any experience of travel. His upbringing and subsequent journeys have shaped his philosophy of engaging with the global community with constant curiosity, empathy and optimism.

Publisher

Hodder & Stoughton

Genre

Memoir

About Simon Reeve

Simon Reeve is a Devon-based author and television presenter for travel programmes. He is an ambassador for both the World Wildlife Fund and the Malaria Awareness Campaign.

Contact us

If you would like more information regarding the Kingston University Big Read, please contact us at KUBigRead@kingston.ac.uk.

Alternatively for press information, please contact the Kingston University Communications team.