Kingston University has revealed the 2020 KU Big Read shortlist with books from indie publishers Bluemoose Books and Salt Publishing up against titles from Penguin, Hodder and Virago.
The six titles, a mixture of adult fiction, non-fiction and YA, are Tomorrow (Penguin) by Damian Dibben, The Making of Mr Hai’s Daughter (Virago) by Yasmin Hai, Leonard and Hungry Paul (Bluemoose Books) by Rónán Hession, Airhead (Penguin) by Emily Maitlis, Bitter Sixteen (Salt Publishing) by Stefan Mohamed, and Step by Step (Hodder & Stoughton) by Simon Reeve.
KU Big Read started in 2015 and follows the initiative first taken by American universities in the late 90s. The scheme provides a free book to the university’s faculty and incoming students to create a platform for discussion and to establish relationships.
The shortlist is chosen via an algorithm featuring 15 key attributes, including the author’s willingness to attend events and the book length, before a committee of volunteers selects the winner in mid-April.
Previous winners include The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2019), Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (2018), My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal (2017), The Humans by Matt Haig (2016), and About a Boy by Nick Hornby (2015).