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Novel book group gets underway at Newcastle University


A project designed to ignite the joys of reading for pleasure is being launched for students at Newcastle University.

Thousands of copies of Hisham Matar’s Man Booker prize shortlisted novel In the Country of Men are being offered to students for £1 as part of a scheme to get them reading for fun and not just to pass exams.

The Booker Prize Foundation chose Newcastle as one of the universities to sponsor its One Book reading challenge for new students.

Reading groups will take place on 31 October and the highlight of the project will be a reading by Hisham Matar at Northern Stage on 7 November. He will also take part in a question and answer session during the event with fellow author and Newcastle University creative writing lecturer William Fiennes.

In the Country of Men is set in Libya under Gaddafi’s regime and examines the impact of oppression on ordinary people’s lives. It has won numerous awards.

Professor Linda Anderson, Director of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts said: “We are very proud to be involved in the One Book project as it opens up the very best of contemporary literary fiction to our students – regardless of what they actually study.

“It’s so easy as a students to get caught up in course texts and forget what a pleasure reading can be when there’s no exam at the end of it.  This is about enhancing their overall experience and introducing them to literature which they might not otherwise read.

“In the Country of Men is an excellent novel and it is incredibly topical at the moment following the Arab spring and the fall of Gaddafi’s regime. I can’t wait to hear what Hisham Matar has to say when he comes to Northern Stage next month.

Entrance to the author’s talk and Q&A is free to students and tickets are available to the public for £6 or £4 for concessions. For tickets:

A Facebook page has also been set up.

published on: 15 October 2012