Mon, 27 Sep 2010
From biochemistry to history, students starting all courses at the University of East Anglia today have been given a free Man Booker Prize novel to read before commencing their studies.
More than 5,000 copies of In The Country of Men, by Libyan writer Hisham Matar, were sent to all new undergraduate and postgraduate students, with support from The Booker Prize Foundation.
The novel, which deals with a nine-year-old’s rites of passage, is intended to spark conversation between new students enrolled on courses across the university, regardless of what they are studying.
It has been published in 26 languages to date, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2006.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof Edward Acton, said: “In The Country of Men is written in a clear and accessible style. It is a story about a family, a story about growing up, and a story about the tensions between love of family and the demands of political commitment.
“The idea is to set the tone for their experience of UEA, bridge cultural differences including the division between science and the arts, and encourage the reading of contemporary fiction.
“We hope that students find this book a thought-provoking and interesting read that will provide an interesting point of discussion amongst out newest students.”
A series of informal reading groups will take place in the second week of the new semester to stimulate discussion among students. And author Hisham Matar will visit the University in October to read from and discuss his novel.
The gift is part of an international initiative to encourage students to read contemporary fiction. It has been jointly funded by The Booker Prize Foundation and the university.
Other universities taking part include Georgetown University in Washington DC, St Andrews University in Scotland, Liverpool University, Newcastle University and Imperial College, London.