The Booker Prize Book Club Challenge

The Booker Prize Judges, from left to right, are Helen Castor, Alain Mabanckou, Neil MacGregor, M. John Harrison and Shahidha Bari. Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning

Does your book club think it has what it takes to be Booker Prize judges – and would you like to be in with a chance to attend this year’s Booker Prize ceremony? We want to hear from you!

The Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English-speaking world, and has brought global recognition and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK.

But this year we don’t just want to hear what the official judges think. We have the exciting opportunity for six book clubs to help rate and review the Booker Prize 2022 shortlist, and to have the chance to attend this year’s Booker Prize winner ceremony in London, as well as a host of other prizes.

How it works

We are inviting book clubs from all backgrounds and from all over the UK to apply to join our challenge (see how to enter, below).

Once all applications are received, the judges of the Booker Prize 2022, chaired by Neil MacGregor, will help select our six groups. They are looking for the most interesting, passionate and wide-ranging set of readers possible, as well as those who will shout the loudest about this year’s Booker Prize shortlist on social media to help encourage even more people to pick up those books.

After we have chosen our six book clubs, two representatives of each club will be invited to attend the Booker Prize 2022 official shortlist announcement party at the Serpentine Pavilion, London, on September 6, where they will receive a set of copies of one of the shortlisted titles. The Booker Prize Foundation will cover the reasonable travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses involved in attendance by the representatives of the successful clubs. You can find more information for this in the terms and conditions below.

They will then be asked to read, discuss and review their assigned book in detail over the following month, sharing their views with the Booker Prize’s and The Reading Agency’s community of readers via social media and on the Booker Prize and the Reading Groups for Everyone website. The Booker Prize’s editorial team may wish to interview members of each of our chosen book clubs about the experience of taking part in our challenge. They may also wish to photograph or film members of each club.

Please do not enter if your club does not wish to engage with any of activities outlined above.

The judges will read and discuss all of the book clubs’ reviews of – and social media activity relating to – their assigned books. Two members of the club who, in the judges’ opinion, provided the most original and engaging reviews will be invited to attend the Booker Prize 2022 ceremony and dinner at The Roundhouse, London, on October 17. The Booker Prize Foundation will cover the reasonable travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses involved in attendance by the representatives of the successful club. You can find more information for this in the terms and conditions below.

How to enter

If you would like to apply to take part, please tell us more about your book club by filling in the form below, and submitting it to us before 12 August.

Create your own user feedback survey

You can also find the survey here.

The Booker Prize 2022 Book Club Challenge (“the Challenge”) – terms and conditions

General

1. Booker Prize Foundation (“BPF”) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (number 4213467) and also as a charity (number 1090059). Its registered office is First Floor, 10 Queen Street Place, London. EC4R 1BE. BPF is collaborating with The Reading Agency (registered charity in England and Wales no 1085443) in managing the Challenge, however BPF is the promoter (organiser) of the Challenge. By entering the Challenge, participants agree to these terms and conditions which constitute a contract between them and BPF.

2. Any personal date relating to participants which BPF processes in connection with the Challenge will only be used in accordance with BPF’s privacy policy.

3. The decisions of the judge (s) and of BPF in relation to all aspects of the Challenge and the implementation of these terms and conditions are final, and no correspondence or discussion (in any medium) will be entered into.

4. BPF does not accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury, or disappointment suffered by any participant in the Challenge, or as a result of participating in the events to which they are invited in the course of the Challenge; and this applies to any postponement or cancellation of those. BPF would take all reasonable steps to advise of any such postponement or cancellation as promptly as possible, but circumstances may arise where this is necessary at very short notice.

Eligibility

5. Only book clubs with at least 3 members may enter, and all members must be resident in the UK.
6. While the members of the book club may be any age, if the group is one of the six selected to participate in the Challenge, only representatives of the club aged 16 or above may attend the shortlist party on 6 September 2022 and, if the club wins, the award ceremony and dinner on 17 October 2022. If representatives under 18 are to attend these events, then BPF will require appropriate parent/guardian consent and/or chaperoning arrangements to be in place, and these will be determined in consultation with the individuals concerned at the appropriate time.
7. The Challenge is not open to book clubs which have a member or members who is an employee, and/ or a person involved in the governance of, and/or any provider of professional services to, BPF and/or The Reading Agency, (or in each case their household members)
8. BPF may disqualify any book club where it determines, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, it is ineligible. Depending on the timing and circumstances, this may result in any selection to participate being given to another book club, or any Challenge prize or prizes being given to an alternate winner.

What participation involves

9. The six book clubs will be notified of their selection for the Challenge by BPF no later than 5.30 pm on Friday 26 August 2022. This will be by email to the address given in their entry forms. Only the successful six will be notified, and regrettably if any entrant has not heard from BPF by this deadline, that book club has not been selected.
10. BPF will supply a maximum of 10 copies of the shortlist book allocated to the book club concerned and will not be able to supply any further copies. If the copies supplied are pre-publication proofs and/or publishers’ review copies, BPF will require these copies to be returned on the publication date, when BPF will replace them with retail copies (for information – to be eligible for the 2022 Booker Prize, the last date on which a shortlisted book can be published is 30 September 2022.) If a shortlist book has not yet been published when the book club to which it is allocated has been selected, BPF will advise the book club concerned of any protocol to be observed (eg in relation to posting images of the book) in championing the book. Any such protocol must be complied with, and failure to do so will result in immediate suspension of involvement in the Challenge by the book club concerned (and, depending on the circumstances, BPF may, at its sole discretion, select an alternative book club).
11. The shortlist party on 6 September 2022 and the awards ceremony and dinner on 17 October 2022 are by invitation only and do not otherwise involve any ticket or entry charge. BPF will cover the reasonable travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses involved in attendance by the representatives of the successful clubs. Travel must be by standard class only and accommodation must be organised in prior consultation with BPF. If travel by public transport is impossible, then reimbursement of expenses involved in any type of travel by car (including if applicable parking charges) must be agreed with BPF in writing (which includes by email) in advance. BPF has absolute discretion to cap any expenses (travel, accommodation, subsistence) as BPF determines to be reasonable – any such determination shall be final. Note that in making any such determination, BPF will bear in mind the comfort and convenience of those involved to ensure their experience is positive and enjoyable.
12. Only two representatives of the selected book clubs will be invited to the shortlist party, and only two representatives of the winning book club will be invited to the awards ceremony and dinner.
13. The members of the six selected book clubs are agreeing to undertake the activities described in the details of the Challenge under “How it Works” on the Challenge page on BPF’s website, www.thebookerprizes.com. If it becomes apparent to BPF that a selected book club is not engaging in the anticipated activities in the spirit of the Challenge as outlined, BPF may, depending on the prevailing circumstances and at its sole discretion, end the participation of that book club and replace it with another.
14. In participating in the Challenge, book clubs, and their individual members, warrant that they will not do or omit to do anything which may bring BPF or the Booker Prize into disrepute. This includes (but without limitation) ensuring that public discourse or content creation (whether on social platforms or otherwise):
a) does not infringe the intellectual property, privacy, or any other rights of any third party and/or
b) does not contain anything which is libellous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, or which constitutes a threat or harassment
and that permission has been obtained to use or feature any people, content or other material.
15. Participants in the Challenge agree that in relation to their social media post relating to the Challenge BPF may, indefinitely:
a) embed participants’ social media posts on BPF’s website and/or
b) use participants’ video footage from social media posts on BPF’s YouTube channel and/or
c) post video footage, text and images from participants’ social media posts (as a whole or in part) on BPF’s social channels.
BPF will give appropriate credit when using participants’ social media posts and will not give any third party any rights in relation to participants’ social media posts without prior written agreement (which pay be by email) with the participant concerned.

16. The winning book club will be notified by BPF no later than 5.30pm on Thursday 6 October 2022. The details of the representatives who will attend the award ceremony and dinner on 17 October 2022 must be given to BPF within the timeframe BPF stipulates at the time of this notification, and failure to do so may mean that the invitation to the representatives to attend may be withdrawn, at BPF’s sole discretion.

17. If exceptional circumstances arise so that:
a) no representatives (the maximum being two) of the winning book club can attend the awards ceremony and dinner, or
b) the awards ceremony and dinner are cancelled
BPF will endeavour, in good faith and in keeping with the spirit of the Challenge, to offer an alternative prize, but whether to do so and what the prize will be are at BPF’s sole discretion.

18. These terms and conditions are be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of England & Wales, and the courts of England & Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation determining any question or issue in relation to them.

Most likely to…

With National Reading Group Day approaching on 14 September we want to hear from you!

It’s been another fantastic year of reading and we’ve loved seeing what books your reading groups have chosen along the way. Time to see which books have made an impact! What are books that have made your reading group laugh most? Or debate the most? Or the books that have been the most inspirational? We will be creating a yearbook collection of all the ‘most likely’ recommendations to share on National Reading Group Day.

We’re looking for recommendations from both adult reading groups and children’s Chatterbooks groups by 19 August.

For adults, we want to hear the books that are:

  • Most likely to make us laugh
  • Most likely to make us cry
  • Most likely to spark debate
  • Most likely to re-read
  • Most likely to recommend to a friend
  • Most likely to become a ‘classic’
  • Most likely to teach us something new
  • Most likely to surprise us with a twist
  • Most likely to read in one sitting

Adults can tell us by filling in a short survey.

And from children:

  • Most likely to make us giggle
  • Most likely to recommend to a friend
  • Most likely to re-read
  • Most likely to make us hide under the covers!
  • Most likely to inspire silly behaviour!
  • Most likely to inspire us to change the world

Chatterbooks group leaders can tell us by filling in a short survey.

Your Health Collection

The Reading Agency has teamed up with Health Education England (HEE) to create ‘Your Health Collection,’ a new collection of books and digital resources to support users of health and prison libraries to understand and manage their health and wellbeing.

The collection of 10 books and 30 digital resources was selected by those working in healthcare, health information and knowledge and library specialists working in the NHS, prisons, public health and Higher Education. The collection will be available in over 300 NHS and prison libraries across England,

The book collection launches today, on Wednesday 6 July, as part of Health Information Week.

Your Health Collection

The ten books included the collection are:

  • Preparing for the menopause and perimenopause by Dr Louise Newson
  • The Trans Guide to Mental Health and Well-being by Katy Lees
  • How to Build a Healthy Brain: Reduce stress, anxiety and depression and future-proof your brain by Kimberley Wilson
  • It’s Not Ok to Feel Blue by Scarlett Curtis
  • Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence by Gavin Francis
  • Men’s Health: All You Need to Know in One Concise Manual by Jim Pollard
  • The Natural Health Service: How Nature Can Mend Your Mind by Isabel Hardman
  • The Book About Getting Older by Dr Lucy Pollock
  • Chronic Pain Management: Your two-part plan for understanding pain and finding relief by David Walton
  • A Manual for being Human by Dr Sophie Mort

The 30 accompanying digital resources aim to provide information on supporting better general health and living a healthier life. The full list of resources is available via https://library.nhs.uk/yhc/

Summer Reading Challenge: let’s get more children reading this summer

The Reading Agency’s Founder and Creative Director, Debbie Hicks, reflects on the successes and learnings of the 2021 cross-authority pilot of the Summer Reading Challenge. Download the summary evaluation report here.

I am sure many of you reading this will already be familiar with the Summer Reading Challenge. For those who have not come across it before, it’s a free annual scheme encouraging primary school children to read at least six books from their local library over the summer months. It’s a vital motivator for children to keep reading when schools are shut, helping to prevent the loss in reading development often referred to as ‘the summer slide’. This year we hope that over a million children – especially those most in need of the benefits of reading – will take part. But we need your help to reach this target.

Covid lockdowns have exacerbated the problem of lost reading time: as of summer 2021, primary school-aged children were still not performing as well in reading as pre-pandemic cohorts, with the attainment gap for those from disadvantaged backgrounds having grown (EEF, 2022). In addition to the impact on learning, children have also experienced damaging effects on their mental health and wellbeing. As a direct response to this, The Reading Agency piloted a new cross-authority partnership model of the Summer Reading Challenge last year in ten areas. Working through cross-local authority partnerships, the model was designed to support public libraries to broaden the reach of the Challenge; levelling up opportunity by making it accessible to more children living with disadvantage or who had not accessed the library before.

Working with education, children’s services and public health, children were reached through schools, early years and other community settings. The ten pilot areas employed two engagement strategies: a universal approach, enrolling all primary-age children in the area, as well as targeting specific areas and schools where children are more likely to experience disadvantage or had lower average literacy levels. I’m pleased to say that the outcomes are incredibly encouraging.

Across the whole of the UK in 2021 we delivered the Summer Reading Challenge in 193 UK local authorities, reaching a total of over half a million children. In the ten pilot areas, almost 100,000 children participated and libraries in those areas gained over 60,000 new members – a 684% increase compared to 2019; an increase partly driven by the offer of automatic library membership, tested in some of the pilot areas. In the London Borough of Newham, for example, all primary aged children received a Summer Reading Challenge starter pack along with a library card so that they could borrow books over the summer.

Analysis of the children who participated in the Challenge versus those who did not, found statistically significant increases in reading frequency, reading enjoyment and reading confidence for those who took part. There were also positive impacts on children’s wellbeing: many children reported feeling happier and calmer when reading over the summer, and feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment in completing the Challenge. What’s more, library authorities across the ten pilot areas forged stronger relationships with both local schools and other branches of their local authority through their delivery of the cross-authority pilot.

Because the experience across these local authorities was so positive, we’re delighted that a total of 30 local authorities will be using the cross-authority model this summer.

We’re delighted to be working with pilot authorities to build new reading partnerships, to increase engagement in what at £1 a child is an incredibly cost-effective investment to support learning catch up whilst also providing fun activity for children and families over the summer. For those of you who are not taking part in the pilot this year, we encourage you to support your library service to run the Challenge and signpost it to your local schools.

The Reading Agency

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