Donate now
Tackling life's big challenges through the proven power of reading

BBC Radio 2 Book Club

Book of the Month

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

1960s UGANDA. Hasan is struggling to run his family business following the sudden death of his wife. Just as he begins to see a way forward, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built. Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a past he never knew. Moving between two continents and several generations over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is a multi-layered, moving and immensely resonant novel of love, loss, and what it means to find home. It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, and one of the most exciting young novelists of today.

"It's such a privilege and an honour to be selected by the BBC and Reading Agency for the Radio 2 Book Club - I can't thank the panel of readers enough. Like many authors, I grew up with my head in a book, exploring the world from the comfort of my bed through the lens of words. It was after I read Matilda that I aspired to do like her and get through every book in the children's section of my local library - and then some more! We Are All Birds of Uganda is my debut novel and it is surreal, slightly terrifying and just incredible to imagine others reaching for it in a library - like the books that transported me to other worlds and immersed me deep in their stories, I hope that readers of my book can find some resonance and empathy in the world I have created."

Find out more about the book at readinggroups.org or buy through The Reading Agency's Bookshop to support us and independent bookshops.

We Are All Birds of Uganda,

Hafsa Zayyan

The Book Club is now part of Steve Wright In The Afternoon, where Steve will interview the chosen authors each month, and also have brilliant guest stars on the show to talk about the books too.

Steve Wright high res 2.jpg

Steve has said about the Book Club: "Books have boomed in lockdown, with thousands of people rediscovering the joy of reading, so it's great news that the Radio 2 Book Club will move to afternoons where it will get the full bells and whistles Big Show treatment!"

The Reading Agency, along with a team of librarians across the UK, help the BBC to choose the Book Club titles each month. Hundreds of the best brand-new fiction titles are submitted to us each year and are then read by our expert library readers, who select their favourites. The best books are shared with the BBC, and they choose the final picks for the Book Club.

Find out more about the librarians, and why they love being part of the Book Club.

Are you a UK publisher? Get in touch to find out how to submit titles for the Book Club.

About The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency is a UK-wide charity using the proven power of reading to tackle life's big challenges of social mobility, mental health and wellbeing and loneliness. Every year the organisation reaches 1.8 million people across the UK with the support of 13,817 partner organisations, ensuring that everyone is reading their way to a better life.

Find out about The Reading Agency's programmes here