Friday, October 11, 2013

Reading Agency teams up with BBC Radio 2 Book Club

 UK's biggest radio station and national charity combine forces in drive for social reading experiences for everyone
The Reading Agency is delighted to announce that it will be working with the BBC Radio 2 Book Club from Spring 2014 in a drive to involve more people in inspiring reading experiences. The charity runs a Reading Groups for Everyone campaign as part of its mission to help everyone become enthusiastic readers, and is setting up a special new book selection panel for the Radio 2 Book Club with public library and Reading Agency staff from across the UK. Publishers are invited to submit – by 16 October for possible Spring 2014 coverage on the Book Club – their best two fiction books per imprint that they think are most likely to appeal to Radio 2’s 15.4 million strong audience.

The BBC’s Radio 2 Book Club, which has its home on Simon Mayo’s popular Drivetime show (weekdays 5pm-7pm), is building up the buzz around reading, and introducing the public to an eclectic range of authors, from Hannah Kent to Philipp Meyer, Gavin Extence to Sahar Delijani. Alongside plans to sticker selected books in shops and libraries, and to provide Radio 2 Book Club review quotes for e-reader copies, the BBC is changing the selection process for books, to give more authors a chance of being chosen and to increase the publicity around choices.

Simon Mayo says: “It’s great to hear authors talking about their books on my show – it’s one of things I enjoy most. The chance to put the Radio 2 stamp on some of them and introduce even more readers to Radio 2 Book Club recommendations seems like the perfect next step. We want even more people to enjoy these brilliant books.”

The new panel of Reading Agency and library staff will now act as the initial filtering layer in the Radio 2 Book Club quarterly selection process for featured titles. To begin the spring 2014 selection process, the Radio 2 Book Club is inviting publishers to send the panel three copies each of the two fiction books from each imprint which they think are best-suited to a BBC Radio 2 audience – who are a broad 35 years+ audience (average age is 51), and who have an equal gender split across all social classes. They are a family minded, modern and knowledgeable audience; nearly a third (31%) read/listen to more than 10 books/ audiobooks/ebooks over a year.

The books need to be submitted by 16 October; they should be due for publication for the first time in the UK in Spring 2014 (April/May/June), and the authors should be available for live interview during that period, although not necessarily in London. The books will be seen by at least two members of the new panel, with the top 12 books sent through for consideration by a Radio 2 committee. The best six will then form the Radio 2 Book Club choices for that season. Please see ‘Notes to editors’ for full details of how books can be sent to the panel, and whom to contact in the event of queries.

“Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Book Club has an extraordinary reach, and we’ll be profiling its featured titles on our Reading Groups for Everyone website ( to inspire groups to read along with the show. Combining the power of broadcast with real time reading group experiences in very different communities will be hugely powerful,” says Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency.

“This is a fantastic initiative from BBC Radio 2 and The Reading Agency. I’m delighted to join the new panel, and bring the community expertise of librarians into the mix. Together we can encourage even more people to take the wonderful journey that is reading!” says Karen Cunningham, head of libraries and cultural venues at Glasgow Life, and director of Aye Write! Glasgow’s book festival.

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