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Newcastle’s biggest book club gets underway again


Students are set to benefit from a novel project designed to encourage reading for pleasure.

The One Book Challenge, the innovative project created and supported by the Booker Prize Foundation, where an acclaimed piece of modern fiction is distributed to thousands of students free of charge, is coming to Newcastle University for a fourth year.

Each year a book, shortlisted in previous years for the Man Booker prize, is chosen by Newcastle University, in discussion with the Booker Prize Foundation.

This year it is Ali Smith’s award-winning The Accidental. The novel tells the story of a middle-class family who are visited by an uninvited guest, and the effect this has on all the family members. The novel won the Whitbread Award and was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Professor Linda Anderson, Director of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts, which runs the event with the Booker Foundation, said: “I am delighted to welcome back the Booker prize Foundation event for the fourth year. Once again, the novel we are sharing has been critically acclaimed and is a wonderful read. This is modern literary fiction at its finest and I hope it inspires our students to read whatever subject they are studying and engage in discussion with each other across the boundaries of their discipline.”

Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University said: “The One Book Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for our students to rediscover the joys of reading for pleasure or to get the chance to read an excellent example of recent fiction for free. I hope as many of them as possible take the opportunity to enjoy The Accidental.”

Author Ali Smith will give a reading and be in discussion with fellow award-winning author and Newcastle University professor Jackie Kay, at 7pm, Northern Stage on 5th November.

A series of book groups discussing the novel have also been set up. They will take place on 23 and 30 October at Quilliam Brothers Tea House, Eldon Place, Barras Buildings.

Photograph of Ali Smith by Sarah Wood

published on: 18 October 2013