BBC Details a Busy UK #LovetoRead Campaign

In News by Dennis Abrams

What’s promised to be ‘a raft of programming’ encouraging engagement with books is brought together under the umbrella hashtag  #LovetoRead by the BBC.

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

As Katherine Crowley at The Bookseller tells us, The BBC’s #LovetoRead campaign is “the rebranded incarnation of the BBC’s year-long Get Reading campaign, launched at the end of last year.” Campaigns may seem at times almost as ubiquitous as awards programs, but their ability to focus attention and energy is important to the business. And when building new readership is publishing’s biggest job, any assist of this kind is to be welcomed. — Porter Anderson

‘To Inspire the Whole of Britain’
A300 #LoveToReadthe Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, the BBC has announced the details of its relaunched #LovetoRead campaign, which celebrates the joy of reading for pleasure, and aims to create a “unique national conversation” all about books.

The BBC’s new line-up for 2016 includes a wide assortment of new programming, documentaries such as The Marvellous World of Roald Dahl with specially commissioned illustrations from Quentin Blake; The Secret Life of Sue Townsend, narrated by Julie Walters; as well as a BBC Four documentary about the founding of the legendary women-only publisher Virgo, entitled The Virago Story.

The channel will also shine a light on the literary worlds of George R.R. Martin, Agatha Christie, John le Carré and others, with presenter Andrew Marr “deconstructing” three popular genres of fiction: fantasy epics, detective fiction, and the spy novel in a new series, Secrets of Genre Fiction. The BBC will also air B is For Book, a new documentary that follows a group of primary school students over the course of a year as they begin to discover their way as young readers.

A Horrible Histories special on Staggering Storyteller—and authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Liz Pichon, David Baddiel, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce—will be featured in Awesome Authors at CBBC Life in Birmingham, an event staged in partnership with Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham City Council.

And, as part of #LovetoRead, this autumn, there’ll be a focus on The Books That Made Britain. Imagine…Marlon James looks at the provocative author who won the 2015 Man Booker for his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings.

BBC Learning will ask the nation to share the book that matters most to them on social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Authors, celebrities, musicians, vloggers, teenagers and young adults and the entire British public will be invited share their most treasured reads.

Radio as well will be getting in on the excitement, with Radio 4 broadcasting dramatizations of Roald Dahl’s autobiographies Boy and Going Solo, while actor Charles Dance will be featured in dramatizations of five of Dahl’s classic stories. On Radio 3, bestselling author Julia Donaldson will talk about the creation of The Gruffalo as well as the “secrets” of writing for children. Also featured will be three special editions of The Essay: The Mabinogion Revisited; The Book the Changed Me and The Essay: Letters to Writers.

The campaign is scheduled to reach its peak on November 5 and 6 with a #LovetoRead weekend, which will feature BBC presenters across the country making their own reading recommendations, and presenters from local radio stations will be doing readings from their favorite books in their local libraries.

The BBC will be partnering throughout the summer and fall of 2016 with some of the UK’s leading literacy and literary organizations for the #LovetoRead campaign, including the Society of Chief Librarians, The Scottish Library and Information Council, The Reading Agency, National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, Scottish Book Trust, The Publishers Association, and the Booksellers Association.

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts, is quoted in the announcement saying:

Jonty Claypole

Jonty Claypole

“Authors and books have always been at the heart of the BBC, but with #LovetoRead 2016 our ambition is to move reading further up our agenda; to include more people, let everyone have a say on the books that matter most to them and importantly inspire a new generation to love reading.

“We’ll work with leading partners and use the BBC’s full range of services—TV, radio and online, national and regional—to inspire the whole of Britain to join a unique national conversation about books.”

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.