BBC Arts and The Reading Agency have announced titles for the Big Jubilee Read, a reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads from celebrated authors across the Commonwealth. But noticeably, one prominent author from The Queen’s reign is off the list, J.K. Rowling.
The 70 titles consist of 10 books from each decade of Her Majesty’s reign, offering a selection of literature from Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Trinidad, and of course, the United Kingdom. The books were chosen by an expert panel of librarians, booksellers, and literature specialists from a readers’ choice longlist. The Big Jubilee Read will be distributed amid public libraries, reading groups, publishers, and bookshops to unite the public in sharing stories that define social and cultural heritage.
A judge from the BBC reading list said there was an extensive discussion about Rowling, but it was decided Harry Potter was more of a ‘children’s book’ and it would not be included in the final list. Professor of modern literature at Queen Mary University, Susheila Nasta, said of the decision: “There was some discussion about Harry Potter, but I think the feeling, in the end, was it was primarily a children’s book. It was decided to make space for a book that was good and equally well received.”
In partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency, the Big Jubilee Read will receive £185,000 from Arts Council England and is supported by Libraries Connected along with the Booksellers Association. Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV at the BBC, said of the announcement: “Nineteen years on from the Big Read, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee feels like the perfect opportunity to foreground some of the greatest writing from across the Commonwealth in our Big Jubilee Read.
“The list of 70 books – 10 for each decade of Elizabeth II’s reign – is a real opportunity to discover stories from across continents and taking us through the decades, books that we might never have otherwise read, and reading authors whose work deserves a spotlight to be shone on it. It’s a really exciting way to share the love of books with readers of all ages and to give book groups and book borrowers a plethora of great titles to try, borrow, share and discuss.”
The full Big Jubilee Read list can be found by clicking here.