BBC Between The Covers reveals Booker nominated picks and guest line-up

BBC Between The Covers reveals Booker nominated picks and guest line-up

The full-line up for series three of BBC Two’s “Between The Covers” has been revealed, including discussions of Booker-shortlisted books which did not win the prize.

Hosted by Sara Cox, the six-episode series kicks off on 10th November and sees a panel of four famous guests discuss two books from the series reading list. Each guest will review a newly-published book, and for the first time, hot on the heels of the Booker Prize, the programme will be looking at shortlisted titles that didn’t win but still deserve to be celebrated. 

Amanda Ross, executive producer and c.e.o. of Cactus TV, said: “Over the years some wonderful books have been shortlisted and missed out, so I asked some of my contacts in the book industry, including authors, critics, agents and publishers, for their favourites. We were able to compile a list of brilliant books spanning the last 50 years.”

The first episode focuses on Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and also looks at the Booker-shortlisted Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (Virago Modern Classics). Evanna Lynch, Dane Baptiste, Emilia Fox and Andy Parsons will be the guests.

Fern Brady, Olly Smith, Lou Sanders and John Thomson join the next edition, looking at The Coward by Jarred McGinnis (Canongate) with The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (Fourth Estate) as the Booker pick.

Still Life by Sarah Winman (Fourth Estate) is next up for discussion alongside Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Penguin), with Sindhu Vee, Rob Rinder, Ben Miller and Kacey Ainsworth appearing.

Alan Davies, Suzi Ruffell, Sarah Kendall, Iain Stirling will talk about Ascension by Oliver Harris (Little, Brown), plus former Booker nominee The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Canongate).

Next up is Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Faber), plus Booker choice Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Virago). Sharleen Spiteri, Prue Leith, Jason Forbes and Ben Willbond will debate the two titles.

Finally, guests Greg James, Imogen Stubbs, Fleur East and Lloyd Griffith will read and discuss Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo (Virago). The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber) is the Booker shortlisted pick.

Gaby Wood, director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “We couldn’t be happier that ‘Between the Covers’ is shining a light on past Booker Prize shortlistees – and what a selection! This backward glance is very much in keeping with the principle behind the Booker Library, browse-able on the new Booker Prizes website. The prize is a prism: look through it and you’ll find novels to fall in love with, as well as a partial history of culture in the last half-century. So many great authors have been nominated but never won that a list composed solely of winners would only tell a fraction of that story. As for these six books in particular: anyone who adds them to their bookshelves has a serious treat in store.”

Cox added: “As my mum always said to me after school sports day, ‘winning isn’t everything’ so for series three of ‘Between The Covers’ we really wanted to shine a light on the brilliant books that were nominated for the Booker but just missed out on the prize. There are some fantastic reads that we can’t wait to celebrate with our fantastic and passionate book-loving viewers.”

Books were chosen by Ross, supported by her production team and book club consultants including series producer Pollyanne Conway, publisher consultant Julia Kingsford and book club consultant Nina Pottell.