BBC announces year-long celebration of literature
Obviously this is across the pond, but the series looks fascinating. It also seems to be inspired by PBS's Great American Read, although they have broadened the scope.
At this link you can see all of the programming, but specifically, this series interested me a lot.
The Novels That Shaped Our World
The series looks at how the novel changed the world. Using three unique and surprising perspectives: empire and slavery, women’s voices and class experience, these films will look at how, across 300 years, the novel has been at the heart of debate about society, and has often spearheaded social change. The Novels That Shaped Our World will reflect on how the power of the novel in English effected change here and abroad through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With key moments from novels brought to life with dramatic performances and readings, British and international novelists will talk about the novels that have meant most to them, as the series follows the story of how the novel has reflected our historic social struggles and been instrumental in effecting change.
Episode one will examine the response to race and empire, from Robinson Crusoe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Things Fall Apart and Wide Sargasso Sea, as well as lesser known but ground-breaking work such as Aphra Benn’s Orinooko to Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners. The programme comes up to date with titles such as Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and Paul Beatty’s The Sell Out.
Episode two discusses the story of women and the novel - both as characters and authors. With Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale capturing global audiences, the programme will show how the plight of women is a theme that reaches right back to the earliest novels. From Richardson’s Pamela to Austen, the Brontës through to Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf, and to the post-war publishing boom where a new generation of global writers such as Zadie Smith, Toni Morrison and Arundhati Roy have continued to speak out for women to a new generation of readers.
In the final episode, how the novel has embraced the class struggle is explored. From Dickens, Gaskell, and Hardy to Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, to the group of working class writers that began to write their own stories in post war Britain. Looking abroad, class struggles in India and the US are also discussed, and the programme will also look at the growth of the crime novel in the 20th Century was a way of playing on the gulf between haves and have-nots.
For now, keep an eye out for the press about BBC's celebration and even if our patrons aren't watching or listening to the programming, much of what they are planning can easily be turned into book discussions, lists, or programs at your library.