Article by Helen Lewis
Fourteen incredible authors invite you to read their books, share your reviews and vote for London’s BIG READ of 2019!
Do you love books? Do you adore discovering new authors? Are you open to trying new genres? Do you get a kick out of sharing the excitement of finishing an amazing book with your friends and family?
Today, World Book Day, sees the opening of the online vote for the London’s BIG READ competition. Fourteen incredible books have been shortlisted across genres including non-fiction, poetry, fiction for adults, children and teens…
This is how you can get involved:
Why not select a few from the shortlist to read with friends – or your local book group?
You could arrange a book swap with your friends or work colleagues, each choosing one book on the list and reading it, reviewing it, then passing it on to the next person?
Or perhaps visit your local library and work your way through the entire list one-by-one in peace and quiet?
When you know which book you feel should be crowned London’s BIG READ of 2019 you can vote online at www.londonsbigread.com. The vote is open from 7th March to June 30th and the winner will be announced on September 26th.
You can tweet about your winning book and tag in the author (you may even get a personal thank you from them!) and don’t forget to tag the organisers of the competition @londonsbigread!
A bit about London’s BIG READ:
Organised by Heironmind Limited, and now in its second year, fourteen books have been selected across fiction and non-fiction under a theme of female empowerment. The aim of London’s BIG READ is to bring people together through reading books that expand our understanding of our community and express the diversity of this great city.
The organisers behind London’s BIG READ have teamed up with Transport For London (TFL), the Booksellers Association to work with bricks and mortar bookshops across London and in the surrounding regions, the London Book Fair (12-14 March 2019), and some of the leading London universities, to raise awareness about the Finalists and the wider London’s BIG READ campaign.
London’s BIG READ 2019 is partnered with the Children’s Literary Charity and Ndoro Children’s Charity to raise money through myriad fundraising activities, culminating in a gala ceremony and charity auction in September 2019 at which the winner will be officially announced. The shortlisted books are all available to buy from LIBRARY, with £1 from each sale going to the Children’s Literacy Charity and a further £1 going to the Ndoro Children’s Charity.
London’s BIG READ 2019 Finalists
What Would Boudicca Do? Everyday Problems Solved by History’s Most Remarkable Women by Elizabeth Foley & Beth Coates, Illustrated by Bijou Karmen, Faber & Faber
Modern life can be troublesome. There is only so much mansplaining, body shaming, playing ‘nice’ and being underestimated that a girl can take. Women have been putting up with this kind of nonsense for centuries and resisting it for just as many. This book turns to the most celebrated women from history for advice. “What a boost this book is: if these amazing women did it, we certainly can. I might start driving a roller around Peckham with a pet cheetah like Josephine Baker!” – Olivia Colman
Remember This When You’re Sad by Maggy Van Eijk, Bonnier Books
A heart-breaking, hilarious exploration of one young woman’s quest for happiness in a world defined by her depression. “This is a stand out (book). Raw, funny, useful and entirely unpretentious. Check it out.” – Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive
Help Me! One Woman’s Quest to Find Out if Self Help Really Can Change Her Life by Marianne Power, Picador
There came a point one hungover Sunday, when Marianne Power realised that things could not carry on the way they were. Outwardly her life looked great; she had her dream job, lots of friends, designer clothes and nice holidays. But the reality was that while her friends were getting on with buying houses, starting families and generally moving on with their lives, she was stuck in a rut and lost. Then she had an idea. Instead of endlessly reading self-help books in an attempt to fix her life, she would DO self-help books, to be more exact, she decided to road test one self-help book a month for a year. “I love it! Hilarious and thought-provoking!” – Fearne Cotton
A History of the World in 21 Women: A Personal Selection by Jenni Murray, One World Publications
In the sequel to her bestselling A History of Britain in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates the lives, struggles and achievements of extraordinary women from around the globe. They ruled empires, they led nations. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They spoke truth to power and fought for change. All have had a profound impact on the shaping of our world. “Illuminating and inspiring.” – Charlotte Gordon
I’m Absolutely Fine! A Manual for Imperfect Women by Annabel Rivkin & Emilie McMeekan, Octopus
I’m absolutely fine but I slightly need to pee, I followed the road less travelled and now I don’t know where the hell I am, I may bleed to death shaving my legs, I just ate the fridge, my soul aches, ducking hell, my sock is slipping off inside my shoe, another week has ended without me becoming accidentally rich, I just put my keys in the fridge, my jeans hate me, unexpected object in the bagging area, I haven’t slept since 2012, I’ve got road rage, I’ll have a café mocha vodka valium latte to go please, where’s my phone? My anxieties have anxieties, no… not like that – here, I’ll do it, do I have to do everything? WTF. “I have been waiting for this book my entire life. It’s brilliant.” – Claudia Winkleman
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Penguin
The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2018, Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. She vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough. “I loved it so much, I wanted it to go on forever, Dolly Alderton is so gifted at making people care. A rare talent.” – Marian Keyes
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh, Hamish Hamilton
The Literary Debut of the summer 2018, Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018
Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them – three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake. The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation. “Eerily beautiful, strange [and] unsettling.” Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train.
The Dizziness of Freedom brings together fifty of contemporary poetry’s most exciting voices to speak out about mental health.
A ground-breaking anthology edited by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall. Foreword by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Bad Betty Press, Supported by Arts Council England. “This brilliant, inspiring collection not only illuminates the richness and variety of human pain, sexuality and embodiment better than any clinical text, but also shows us what language is for. Rather than labelling and imposing psychiatric categories, words here give a voice to each person’s experience, challenging and questioning what we are supposed to feel, say and be.” – Darian Leader
The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, Saqi Books
Edited by Sabrina Mahfouz
Established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the ‘Muslim Woman’. “Important and timely.” – Eimear McBride
Emily Knight I Am … Awakened by Abiola Bello, Hashtag Press
Carnegie-nominated title for 2019, Winner of the London Book Fair Trailblazer Award 2018
Dark times are upon us. The warriors are forced to pick a side and to stand up for what they believe in. Emily Knight has to get sharper, stronger and faster… “A wonderful heroine you can’t help but root for.” – Katherine Webber
Big Bones by Laura Dockrill, Hot Key Books
Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – is a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. . . “Big Bones is the book I wish I’d had as a teenager and Bluebelle is a friend I wish I had today. Laura has written a beautiful love letter to some of the most important things in life: friends, family and food.” – Linsdey Kelk
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber, Walker Books
Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you… “A dreamy, smart story about loss, love, friendship and consent” – Book Riot
Fearless Mirabelle by Katie Haworth and Nila Aye, Templar
Mirabelle and Meg Moffat are twins and their mum and dad are famous circus acrobats. A funny, exuberant picture book about twin sisters with very different talents. “Perhaps it’s the celebration of individuality, or having confidence in your own unique skill set, or looking after your sibling, but this picture book appeals on so many levels.” – Minerva Reads
Three Cheers For Women by Marcia Williams, Walker Books
A celebration of inspirational women from all over the world and throughout history, told in Marcia Williams’ much-loved comic-strip style. Join Marcia Williams as she celebrates incredible women from around the world and throughout history. From writers to warriors and astronauts to activists, discover their awesome stories and be amazed by their achievements. Featuring Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Wangari Maathai, Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman and Malala, and packed with facts, quotes and jokes – hip, hip, hooray! “Marcia Williams celebrates inspirational women from all over the world in her wonderful comic-book style.” – TheSchoolRun.com
Founded by Ronald Ndoro in 2013, LIBRARY is a hub for creativity and innovation, and draws inspiration from literature, theatre, local community and sustainable design. LIBRARY is focused on tailoring and enhancing the member experience through the provision of a lifestyle service, fine dining and dancing, complemented by an original cultural events programme including live music events, art exhibitions, film screenings, author-led book clubs and talks.
LIBRARY, 112 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4BD
For more information please visit: www.bigread.london
About The Children’s Literacy Charity
The Children’s Literacy Charity is invested in breaking the link between poor literacy and poor life chances. They are a direct action charity that provides expert one to one literacy support, making it unique in this field. The charity employs expert tutors to directly support children through their Literacy Labs delivered in primary schools across the top 10% deprived areas in London and Manchester.
The Children’s Literacy Charity and London’s Big Read will run mutually supportive publicity activities that will create exposure for both, and expand the donation activities of the Trust.
The Children’s Literacy Charity provides one-to-one specialist support from trained tutors to children with the greatest need.
- In schools, these tailored interventions take place twice a week in Literacy Labs – spaces away from the main classroom where children can take learning at their own pace with the help of a trusted adult.
- Their skilled tutors use a phonics-based approach, which studies indicate is the most effective method of teaching reading.
- Their approach offers ‘a gold standard’ in the provision of phonics-based instruction, according to validation by the University of Sheffield.
About the Ndoro Children’s Charity
The Ndoro Children’s Charity was set up in 2008 to provide education for sustainable development, good health and stability to as many children as possible in underprivileged parts of the world – with a particular focus on children orphaned to diseases such as HIV/Aids in Africa. The charity was set up by the founder of LIBRARY, Ronald Ndoro.
- Focus on education but includes accommodation, access to water and electricity through renewable energy, environmental conservation and agriculture.
- Success includes building and renovating schools, an orphanage home, providing clean drinking water, covering school fees and setting up a volunteer scheme in Zimbabwe.