By Nehru Odeh
Fifty-eight years after Arrow of God was published by Chinua Achebe, it continues to elicit interests and stir reactions. The masterpiece, has been chosen by the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, alongside 69 other great reads for The Big Jubillee Read.
The Big Jubilee Read is a reading for pleasure campaign spearheaded by BBC Arts and The Reading Agency that celebrates great reads from across the Commonwealth, to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The Reading Agency is showcasing 70 books published across the Commonwealth during her reign, as part of a campaign to “celebrate the joy of reading and the power that it has to connect people across the country and among nations”.
The list features 70 titles that consist of ten books from each decade of Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 year reign, chosen by an expert panel of librarians, booksellers and literature specialists. From that list, Amanda Ross and her production team chose one from each decade; offering a brilliant selection of beautiful and thrilling writing produced by authors from a range of Commonwealth countries.
Guests expected to pick their book of choice for the seven-part series comprises actors, comedians, presenters and musicians including David Morrissey, Vick Hope, Richard Osman, Sir Trevor McDonald, Peter Davison, Mel Giedroyc, Sarah Hadland, Richard E. Grant, Deborah Meaden, Jo Brand, Darren Harriott, Neil Morrissey, Nina Wadia, Kate Bottley, Emeli Sandé, Jordan North, Rhys Stephenson, Deborah Frances-White, Adrian Scarborough, Jen Brister, Catherine Bohart, Colin Salmon, Dan Smith, Cariad Lloyd, Katy Wix, Pierre Novellie, Stephen Bailey and Sukh Ojla.
Designed to bring the nation together by sharing the enjoyment of reading, in each episode the panel of four famous guests will bring along their own book of choice and will discuss a newly-published book and a pick from The Big Jubilee Read list.
The Big Jubilee Read choices (in broadcast order) are:
• The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (1992, Sri Lanka/Canada)
• The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (1956, Trinidad)
• Arrow Of God by Chinua Achebe (1964, Nigeria)
• The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985, Canada)
• The Secret River by Kate Grenville (2005, Australia)
• The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo (2019, Malaysia)
• The Crow Eaters by Bapsi Sidhwa (1978, Pakistan)
All books for Between the Covers have been carefully selected to include something for everyone and are guaranteed to spark conversation.
Between the Covers gives BBC audiences nationwide the opportunity to take part in an inclusive book club inspiring new readers as well as avid bookaholics. The 14 selected books featured in the series will be labelled with Between The Covers stickers in shops, libraries and online so that audiences can read and join the conversation on social media using #BetweentheCovers.
Between the Covers (7 x 30’) was commissioned by Emma Cahusac, BBC Arts Commissioning Editor. Created and produced by Cactus TV, Exec Produced by Amanda Ross with Series Producer Pollyanne Conway.
Amanda Ross, CEO of Cactus TV says: “This is a sparkling, joyful series, full of some of our best recommendations to date, championed by brilliant panels. I can’t wait to hear what the viewers think of the brilliant books we’ve chosen. My “to be read pile” is groaning with these fabulous guests’ BYOBs.”