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Explore the list of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World

5 November 2019

Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking. There was months of deliberation and reflection by the panel but what would you have chosen? Share the novel that's shaped you on our Facebook page or using #mybooklife on Twitter.

The panel are Radio 4 Front Row presenter and Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam

Identity

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Days Without End – Sebastian Barry

Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels

Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Small Island – Andrea Levy

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

White Teeth – Zadie Smith

Love, Sex & Romance

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

Forever – Judy Blume

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Riders – Jilly Cooper

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

The Far Pavilions – M. M. Kaye

The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

The Passion – Jeanette Winterson

The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton

Adventure

City of Bohane – Kevin Barry

Eye of the Needle – Ken Follett

For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway

His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pullman

Ivanhoe – Walter Scott

Mr Standfast – John Buchan

The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Jack Aubrey Novels – Patrick O’Brian

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien

Life, Death & Other Worlds

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Astonishing the Gods – Ben Okri

Dune – Frank Herbert

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson

The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

The Earthsea Trilogy – Ursula K. Le Guin

The Sandman Series – Neil Gaiman

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The Chronicles of Narnia | Image: Allstar Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Politics, Power & Protest

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

Strumpet City – James Plunkett

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

V for Vendetta – Alan Moore

Unless – Carol Shields

Class & Society

A House for Mr Biswas – V. S. Naipaul

Cannery Row – John Steinbeck

Disgrace – J.M. Coetzee

Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens

Poor Cow – Nell Dunn

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning – Alan Sillitoe

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne – Brian Moore

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

Coming of Age

Emily of New Moon – L. M. Montgomery

Golden Child - Claire Adam

Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

So Long, See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell

Swami and Friends – R. K. Narayan

The Country Girls - Edna O’Brien

The Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling

The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ - Sue Townsend

The Twilight Saga – Stephenie Meyer

Family & Friendship

A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild

Cloudstreet – Tim Winton

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

Middlemarch – George Eliot

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë

The Witches – Roald Dahl

The Witches | Pictorial Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Crime & Conflict

American Tabloid – James Ellroy

American War – Omar El Akkad

Ice Candy Man – Bapsi Sidhwa

Rebecca -Daphne du Maurier

Regeneration – Pat Barker

The Children of Men – P.D. James

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

The Talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith

The Quiet American – Graham Greene

Rule Breakers

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Bartleby, the Scrivener – Herman Melville

Habibi – Craig Thompson

How to be Both – Ali Smith

Orlando – Virginia Woolf

Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

Psmith, Journalist – P. G. Wodehouse

The Moor’s Last Sigh – Salman Rushdie

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Audre Lorde

Orlando | AF Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

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