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World Book Night – A Culture Show Special

World Book Night – A Culture Show Special

A Night Of Books, BBC TWO, 5 March 2011

Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, this half-hour film tells the story of World Book Night. The film follows the preparations for World Book Night, as a million books are printed and distributed to 20,000 givers who have volunteered to hand out 48 copies of their favourite book which features on World Book Night's list of selected titles.

With 25 different books on the special list, there's something for everyone to enjoy, from Nigel Slater's Toast and Seamus Heaney's New Selected Poems to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré.

World Book Night is about sharing through word of mouth the pleasure of reading. This film explores that pleasure by talking to famous and non-famous readers about the books they really love.

And as the massive nationwide book giveaway gears up for the evening of 5 March, BBC cameras capture some of these passionate readers as they hit the streets to encourage other people to take home and read these books.

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Sue Perkins Presents The Books We Really Read – A Culture Show Special

The Books We Really Read – A Culture Show Special

A Night Of Books, BBC TWO, 5 March 2011

In this Culture Show Special, Sue Perkins investigates crime and experiences "new romance" in an attempt to discover the essential ingredients of a best-selling novel.

As an English graduate and past Booker Prize judge, Sue's reading material generally consists of quite difficult literary fiction.

Now she tries to find out just what she's been missing and what makes a bestseller so readable.

Her journey takes her to the home of Agatha Christie to find clues as to why she's the best-selling crime author of all time. She visits the racetrack with Dick Francis's son Felix to find out what makes the perfect backdrop for a thriller. She meets author Lee Child to discover why men and women love his anti-hero Jack Reacher.

Furthermore, she tests the popularity of a Sophie Kinsella chick-lit novel in a flashmob-style raid on an Edinburgh hairdressing salon.

Along the way, Sue also meets best-selling authors Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Anthony Horowitz and Joanne Harris along with some of the UK's biggest crime, thriller and romance fans to find out what they like best about their favourite authors.

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Books On The BBC

New Novelists: 12 Of The Best From The Culture Show

World Book Night on BBC TWO, 5 March 2011

The world of publishing is changing fast – bookshops are closing, e-books are starting to challenge the traditional book market and some critics are even wondering if the novel has had its day.

There's never been a tougher time to be a debut writer in the field of literary fiction.

To highlight the brightest new talent in this area, The Culture Show has formed a panel chaired by professor of English John Mullan to examine the debut novels of writers published in the last two years and to identify the most important new voices in British literary fiction right now.

The film witnesses the in-depth discussions of the panel as they narrow the list of new novelists down to just 12. It then introduces each of the writers and their work.

John Mullan puts the search into context by exploring the literary landscape, its recent past and likely future. He also looks back at previous lists of new writers to see whether they fulfilled their early promise.

BBC Productions

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Tim Samuels Hosts Britain’s Biggest Book Prize 2011 – A Village Decides

Britain’s Biggest Book Prize 2011 – A Village Decides

BBC TWO

To be broadcast on October 18, the evening of the Booker Prize announcement, this Culture Show Special provides an alternative view on the literary fiction that experts have judged to be the best of the year.

Presenter and film-maker Tim Samuels returns to the Scottish village of Comrie in Perthshire to ask the locals for their verdict on 2011's Booker shortlist, which this year will be decided by a jury chaired by former Director General of MI5 Stella Rimington.

Tim has been to Comrie on Booker business for the Culture Show three times before and every time, without exception, the villagers' month-long reading marathon has resulted in a book choice that hasn't matched that of the official judges.

In 2010 Comrie's readers were convinced that Room by Emma Donohue should win the Booker but the prize went to Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question instead.

Will 2011 be the year that the book-lovers of Comrie finally gets it right?

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Books On The BBC

BBC National Short Story Award 2011

BBC RADIO 4

The BBC National Short Story Award celebrates the best of the contemporary British short story.

Now in its sixth year, the award continues to raise the profile of the short story maintaining the prestige of the genre across the literary world.

In 2010 the award and £15,000 went to David Constantine for his short story, Tea At The Midland. Previous winners include James Lasdun for An Anxious Man; Julian Gough for The Orphan And The Mob; Clare Wigfall for The Numbers; while in 2009 Kate Clanchy won for her short story The Not-Dead And The Saved.

Announcements and features about the awards are made on Radio 4's Front Row with shortlisted stories broadcast on the Monday to Friday between the shortlist announcement and the final event.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 broadcasts short stories from both classic and contemporary collections featuring the best national and international short story writers. Afternoon Readings can be heard every Tuesday to Thursday at 3.30pm.

BBC Productions

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Books On The BBC

The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-Fiction 2011

BBC TWO

With short films featuring all six of the writers on the Samuel Johnson Prize shortlist in conversation with experts in their field, this Culture Show Special, fronted by Andrew Graham-Dixon, explores and celebrates the very best non-fiction writing of 2011.

Filmed at the award ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects on the previous night, the programme scheduled for 7 July hears the panel of eminent judges debate each of the books in detail and sees them reveal the winner of this year's £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize.

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Books On The BBC

World Book Night On BBC Radio 7

BBC RADIO 7

Broadcasting the jewels of the BBC archive, BBC Radio 7 also commissions some drama and readings within its speech-based entertainment schedule.

As part of the BBC Year Of Books, BBC Radio 7 presents archive readings from World Book Night's list of 25 titles, featuring Alan Bennett's Untold Stories, More Untold Stories, a Talking Heads archive special and another chance to hear the writer's Telling Tales.

Untold Stories and More Untold Stories present a poignant family memoir recalling the marriage of Bennett's parents, the lives and deaths of his aunts and the revealing of a long-kept family secret. At times heart-rending and at others extremely funny, it's a matchless and unforgettable journey into the author's past.

In a Talking Heads archive special on the morning of World Books Night on Saturday 5 March, the writer introduces five monologues: A Chip In The Sugar, A Lady Of Letters, Her Big Chance, Soldiering On and A Cream Cracker Under The Settee with Thora Hird and Julie Walters.

In Bennett's Telling Tales, the much-loved writer reads his wry recollections and observations about growing up in Leeds.

There is another chance for listeners to catch John le Carré's The Complete Smiley series starring Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley in Call For The Dead; A Murder Of Quality; The Spy Who Came In From The Cold; The Looking Glass War; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; Smiley's People; and The Secret Pilgrim.

Robert Lonsdale stars in All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque's haunting, comic, lyrical and desperate tale of First World War German soldiers. Damian Lewis reads Agent Zig-Zag, the story of ex-convict Eddie Chapman, Britain's most extraordinary wartime double-agent.

A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood presents the dystopia of The Republic of Gilead which offers Offred only one function – to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Books on BBC Radio 7

In June, BBC Radio 7 brings listeners a special season of new commissions of gripping, escapist summer reading in Book At Beachtime. Twisted family drama, sweeping romance and, above all, great story-telling by best-selling authors old, new and to"come, are on offer as Radio 7 reads some of the books which will entrance readers in 2011.

BBC Productions

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Books On The BBC

Oxford Literary Festival Partnership

BBC FOUR

Today the BBC announces a fourth year of BBC Four's broadcast media partnership with the Oxford Literary Festival.

The BBC's partnership enables festival-goers to sample some of the forthcoming literary programming on offer from BBC Four, with added insight from presenters and consultants on the programmes.

Running from 2 to 10 April 2011, this prestigious event takes place in Oxford University's Christ Church and Corpus Christi College, with more than 300 events on offer, featuring some 400 of the top writers, academics and public figures from the literary world.

BBC Productions

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Books On The BBC

A Good Read

BBC RADIO 4

In a special edition of A Good Read, guests select their favourite title from the World Book Night Top 25 titles on Tuesday 1 March in the lead up to World Book Night.

Clare McGinn, editor, Radio 4 production in Bristol, says: "Ultimately, A Good Read is about wonderful writers and wonderful books, and conveying the passion we share for them."

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

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Books On The BBC

Front Row

BBC RADIO 4

Covering literature, cinema, music, visual art, theatre, broadcasting, dance, architecture and more, BBC Radio 4's Front Row reaches more than 2.2 million listeners a week.

In the run up to World Book Night, the programme presents new interviews with authors from World Book Night's list of 25 titles.

Listeners can also find extended Front Row interviews with authors including Muriel Spark, John le Carré, Alan Bennett and Seamus Heaney in the Author Interviews Collection archive on the Radio 4 website.

Front Row is broadcast live every weekday evening throughout the year.

Every week, BBC Radio 4 is committed to bringing literature to life in its regular strands – Book Of The Week, Book At Bedtime, Open Book, Bookclub, A Good Read, Classic Serial and Front Row.

BBC Productions

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