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Kingston University announces six-book shortlist for next Big Read

Posted Thursday 23 February 2023

Kingston University announces six-book shortlist for next Big Read Kingston University's Big Read initiative is now in its ninth year and has just announced it's six book shortlist for 2023.

​Kingston University has announced the latest shortlist for its award-winning book sharing initiative, the Big Read.

In choosing the book given free to students, staff and the wider community, the University seeks a title likely to have widespread appeal. Each year, staff and students suggest titles, with the list then filtered using an algorithm of key criteria resulting in a carefully considered six-book shortlist.

A volunteer panel of judges made up of students and staff from across the University then sets to work reading each title before meeting to select the winning book. The publication picked is sent out to all new first year students and is also made available across campus for returning students and staff. 

Now in its ninth year, the project won the prestigious Times Higher Education Award for Widening Participation and Outreach in 2017Books have been shared in the wider community in secondary schools and with organisations for those with particular needs. The University has also collaborated with other institutions to compare outcomes, with St George's, University of London and Royal Holloway University current partners in the scheme.

 The winning title is expected to be announced in May. Contenders being considered are:

  • Just Sayin' by Malorie Blackman: Malorie Blackman OBE is the author of Noughts and Crosses, Pig Heart Boy, Boys Don't Cry and many more bestselling books. Here she brings you the story of her life. What she offers is an illuminating, inspiring and empowering account of the power of words to change lives.
  • Hello World by Hannah Fry: Familiar from her many media appearances, academic and science communicator Hannah Fry offers us a collection of short stories based on real-life issues that involve data. She takes us on a tour of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the many algorithms that surround us – and of which most of us are unaware.
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus: In the early 1960s, brilliant young chemist Elizabeth Zott challenges what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated society. A truly unforgettable heroine, she brings her unique approach to cooking – and to life in general – to change the status quo. Readers have unanimously cheered her on.
  • A Slow Fire Burning by Paula HawkinsFrom the award-winning author of the bestseller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins writes a thrilling and unforgettable tale of mystery, murder, and motives. As the plot twists, we unravel the truth behind three remarkable characters and their unique stories.  A real page-turner in search of the true killer.
  • Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata: Sayaka Murata, author of the international bestseller Convenience Store Woman offers a deeply original collection of twelve short stories. Life Ceremony is a wildly interesting take on body horror, feminist revenge fables, romance, empathy, and transformation. This book will surely capture your attention until the very last page.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that do not quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. When he wakes, there is a visitor at his window. It is ancient, elemental, and a force of nature. It wants the truth from him. Author Patrick Ness weaves an extraordinary and uplifting tale of the courage it takes to survive.

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