Friday, September 24, 2010

18,000 new students will bond over The Man Booker Prize

Along with their kettle and corkscrew, nearly 18,000 freshers will be armed with a Man Booker Prize novel when they start university this autumn as the Booker Prize Foundation rolls out its student reading programme.

Regardless of their chosen area of study, first year students joining five of the UK’s leading universities will be required to read a selected winning or shortlisted Man Booker Prize novel before the autumn term begins. The universities taking part are: Imperial College, London; Liverpool University; Newcastle University; St Andrews University and the University of East Anglia. In addition, Georgetown University, Washington, has initiated a similar programme in the US.

Jonathan Taylor CBE, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments, “Whether studying humanities or sciences - physics, economics, history or whatever - the freshman class will have a topic in common: a Man Booker Prize novel to discuss, to argue about or even to praise. In this way we will help to bridge the two cultures and encourage an appreciation of the best contemporary literary fiction.”

The students across the five universities were sent their Man Booker Prize book to read over the summer. The authors of the featured books will visit the universities during the autumn term and will take part in a combination of workshops, lectures and reading groups.

This autumn term:

• Lloyd Jones (pic right) will discuss his 2008 shortlisted book Mister Pip at St Andrews on 7 and 8 October and Liverpool University on 13 October

• 2009 shortlisted author Simon Mawer will talk about The Glass Room at Imperial College, London on 11 and 13 October

• 1989 Man Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro will visit Newcastle University to discuss his 2005 shortlisted novel Never Let Me Go on 14 and 15 October

• Hisham Matar will discuss In the Country of Men, which was shortlisted in 2006, at the University of East Anglia in late October

This initiative was launched in 2009 when shortlisted authors Mohsin Hamid and Sebastian Barry spoke respectively to first year students at St Andrews, Scotland and Georgetown University, Washington. This initial success encouraged the Booker Prize Foundation to extend the programme to the additional four universities, with plans to expand further in 2011.

The scheme is jointly funded by the Booker Prize Foundation and the individual universities.

For further information about the prize :

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