The BBC has announced a raft of new programmes around Love to Read, its campaign to create a national conversation around books, including a BBC1 series of regional documentaries about the "books that made Britain great".
The "Books That Made Britain" will be a series of 11 documentaries, with presenters including Martha Kearney, Chris Packham, Gemma Cairney and Alice Levine, about the books that have defined different areas in England.
Other highlights in the new schedule will include a BBC Daytime adaption of Wilkie Collins’ Victorian detective novel The Moonstone, a "Desert Island Books" feature on BBC Radio 2, presented by Simon Mayo, and Steve Lamacq interviewing children’s authors like Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Oliver Jeffers on his Radio 6 Music show.
In Scotland, Kirsty Wark will lead a countdown of the country’s top 10 novels, before revealing Scotland’s favourite book, and BBC Northern Ireland will host a "book week" between October 31st and November 6th.
BBC Asian Network will be speaking to author Bali Rai, and other Asian authors about their favourite book.
The campaign will lead up to a Love to Read weekend on 5th-6th November, when the BBC and its partners - the Booksellers Association, Publishers Association, the Society of Chief Librarians, the Scottish Library and Information Council, the Book Trust, the National Literacy Trust, the Reading Agency and Scottish Book Trust – will encourage the nation to take time to read a book.
Jonty Claypole, director of arts at the BBC, said: “Evidence suggests that reading is key to a happy and fulfilled life. So the ambition of #LovetoRead is to get the nation reading more, talking about the books they love, and inspire a new generation of readers too.
"With over 50 hours of programming over the next month, right across the BBC –from local to global, on TV, Radio and online - the #LovetoRead season is a huge commitment from the BBC that wouldn’t be possible without the support and enthusiasm of a wide range of writers, presenters, partners and BBC services.”
The BBC launched #LovetoRead in November last year, promising to galvanise the nation into talking about books as well as reading them. At the time Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said: “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.”