Novels That Shaped Our World

Confirmed for BBC Two on 9 November at 9.45pm to 10.45pm

Ep 1/3

Saturday 9 November



The series looks at how the novel changed the world. Using three unique and surprising perspectives - empire, women’s voices and class experience - these films reveal how, across 300 years, the novel has been at the heart of debate about society, and has often spearheaded social change.

Novels That Shaped Our World will reflect on how the power of the novel in English effected change here and abroad through the 19th and 20th centuries. With key moments from novels brought to life with dramatic performances and readings, British and International novelists will talk about the novels that have meant most to them, as the series follows the story of how the novel has reflected our historic social struggles and been instrumental in effecting change.

Episode one: A Woman’s Place
Episode one discusses the story of women and the novel - both as characters and authors. With Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale capturing global audiences, the programme will show how the plight of women is a theme that reaches right back to the earliest novels.

From Richardson’s Pamela to Austen, the Brontës through to Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf, and to the post-war publishing boom where a new generation of global writers such as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker have continued to speak out for women to a new generation of readers.

Featuring readings from Lily Cole, Russell Tovey, Tuppence Middleton, Emily Berrington, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Sean Biggerstaff, Mandeep Dhillon, Bridget McCann, Apphia Campbell, Nicole Cooper, Bessie Coates, Apphia Campbell, Laura Lovemore and James G O’Hara.

Pictured: Lily Cole, who reads from Orlando