BBC Launches Campaign Promoting Reading

In News by Dennis Abrams

The BBC is launching an extensive campaign to encourage British citizens to make books a bigger part of their lives in 2016.

By Dennis Abrams

bbcBBC Director-General Tony Hall announced the launch of Get Reading — a campaign for 2016 that will celebrate great authors and their works, created to get the people of the UK reading and sharing the books they love.

Get Reading will include a Get Reading Weekend, a digital and social media campaign from BBC Learning, as well as specially-commissioned programs that will be available across BBC TV, Radio and online.

Get Reading will work with key reading partners throughout 2016, including the Reading Agency, BookTrust, the National Literacy Trust, the Society Of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council.

The campaign kicks off in spring with the BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016 – a major season celebrating the genius of William Shakespeare, 400 years after his death.

Over the summer there will be a season of children’s books on the BBC, at the heart of which will be programming to mark the centenary of one of the UK’s most famous children’s authors, Roald Dahl.

In the autumn, a landmark season on BBC Two: The Book That Inspired Me and an accompanying nationwide social media campaign led by BBC Learning, created to encourage everyone to share their favorite books.

And throughout the year BBC Two and BBC Four will be celebrating the work of famous authors such as the Brontës and Rudyard Kipling, while Radio 4 will explore the work of contemporary figures such as Alex Garland, Toni Morrison and Jeanette Winterson.

Get Reading will culminate in a Get Reading Weekend as the BBC, working in partnership with UK organizations to inspire everyone across the UK to read something new.

Tony Hall, Director-General, BBC said in a statement that: “We want to get everyone talking about stories that have influenced them – and inspire them to discover something new. If we can pull that off, it’s going to be very special. I hope we can ignite a spark and I’m sure we’ll surprise some people. Let’s not forget, a book can change your ideas. It can change your life.”

Jonty Claypole, Director, BBC Arts, added: “Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but also plays a huge role in broadening our horizons and sharpening our imaginations – which is why authors and books have always been at the heart of the BBC. Whether you’re catching an author with their latest book on BBC Breakfast, watching CBeebies bedtime story with your child, celebrating the lives and works of our greatest authors on television, or being transported by our many evening radio book shows, you are joining millions of others in a shared love.

“So, I’m delighted that in 2016 we’ll push reading even higher up the agenda. Get Reading will depend upon and amplify the work of our partners, who include the BookTrust, the National Literacy Trust, the Reading Agency, the Society Of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council, as we inspire everyone to Get Reading and talk about the books that matter most to us all.

Among the highlights according to the BBC:

  • A children’s books season will feature a major BBC Two documentary celebrating the life and work of Roald Dahl; accompanying BBC Four programmes include a film following a group of primary school children as they learn to read. Radio 4 will offer dramatisations of Roald Dahl’s autobiographies Boy and Going Solo. CBBC is planning an Awesome Authors Live event to complement their storytelling season, whilst 500 Words on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2, a short story competition for children, returns for a sixth year.
  • BBC Two’s season and a nationwide online campaign The Book That Inspired Me (W/T), led by BBC Learning, will get the nation sharing the books that inspired them and build a picture of the books that matter most to 21st Century Britons, culminating in a major gala celebration.
  • Get Reading Weekend. Working with key organisations across the country including BookTrust, the National Literacy Trust, the Reading Agency, the Society Of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council, the BBC will aim to inspire the nation to read something new across one weekend in November.
  • Programmes across TV and Radio will celebrate great writers. BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four will celebrate the Brontës, Radio 4 will explore the work of Alex Garland, Toni Morrison, Jeanette Winterson, while BBC Two will feature a new documentary on Rudyard Kipling. A major BBC Four series The Secrets Of The Books We Love will reveal the workings of British genre fiction. Simon Mayo will be one of the BBC’s Book Ambassadors for 2016 as his Radio 2 Book Club continues to go from strength to strength and the BBC Nations and Regions will be finding out the books that define the different parts of Britain.
  • BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016 will mark 400 years since Shakespeare’s death with programmes including a BBC Two live broadcast of the RSC’s Shakespeare Show (W/T) with David Tennant, and the next installment of the Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will feature on BBC One.
  • BBC Arts Online will enhance Books On The BBC, personalised with blogs and tips from many of our best-loved faces like Simon Mayo and Mariella Frostrup – providing a one-stop shop for book lovers across the country.

This should be good.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.