Literature will be celebrated on radio and television over twelve months.

“BBC Arts is committed to exploring novels that have had a huge impact on our lives, from the classics to contemporary fiction. We’re hoping to get the nation reading, re-reading and debating novels through this year-long focus on literature across the BBC.” – Lamia Dabboussy, Acting director, BBC Arts

BBC Arts announces a year-long celebration of literature, with new programming across BBC TV, radio and online, as well as a festival in partnership with libraries and reading groups around the UK.

This new content will also feature specials of many of the BBC’s regular books programmes including; The Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley, The Verb on Radio 3, World Book Club on the World Service, Book Club and Open Book, both on Radio 4. Plus, there will be further literature content announcements made in the coming months.

“Whilst not exhaustive, our programming aims to generate debate and to shed a light on the role of literature to entertain, challenge and spearhead social change since the birth of the English language novel 300 years ago.” – Lamia Dabboussy, Acting director, BBC Arts

Spearheading the celebration of literature is the landmark BBC Two three-part series The Novels That Shaped Our World this autumn with an accompanying festival of programming. The series coincides with what is widely acknowledged to be the birth of the popular English language novel 300 years ago with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

The series will examine the novel from three unique perspectives: Empire and slavery, women’s voices and working class experiences. These unique films will argue that the novel has always been a revolutionary agent of social change, spearheading shifts in both colonial and post-colonial attitudes, female equality and social mobility.

“The year-long celebration of literature is accompanied by BBC Arts’ The Novels That Shaped Our World Festival; a multi-platform collaboration between the BBC, libraries and reading groups that will reveal and explore 100 novels which have had an impact over the last three centuries. The list – which will spark debate and celebrate the joy of reading – is being chosen by a panel of six: journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, bestselling author, screenwriter and columnist Juno Dawson, Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam, author Kit de Waal, journalist and editor of The Times Literary Supplement Stig Abell and author Alexander McCall Smith.” – BBC Arts

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