> Zed Book Club / Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Princess Elizabeth enjoys some light reading at Windsor Castle on July 8, 1946. Photo: Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

> Buzz

Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list. / BY Andrew Wright / April 21st, 2022


For book worms, one particular commemoration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee might catch their eye above all others.

BBC Arts and The Reading Agency are celebrating the Queen’s 70th year on the throne with the Big Jubilee Read, a list of 70 novels, short story anthologies and poetry collections published in the Commonwealth during the Queen’s reign.

For the list, an expert panel of librarians, booksellers and literature experts selected ten books for each of the seven decades that reflect “the shared stories that define our social and cultural heritage.”

“Spanning 31 countries and six continents, this truly international collection is a fitting tribute to the most widely travelled monarch in history,” the BBC said of the list.

Included on the list are six Canadian titles. They are the Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro’s short story collection Who Do You Think You Are (1978), Margaret Atwood’s Governor General’s Award-winning novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Michael Ondaatje’s Golden Man Booker Prize-winning novel The English Patient (1992), the Pulitzer-Prize and Governor General’s Award-winning The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (1993), the Giller Prize-winning A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995) and Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi (2001).

Among perceived snubs that failed to make the list was JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1955), a novel which many credit for the resurgence of the fantasy genre and earned the late writer the title as the father of modern fantasy.

As well, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, another staple of the genre — which, at 500 million books sold, is the best-selling book series of all time — was also left off the list.

Susheila Nasta, the emeritus professor of modern and contemporary literature at Queen Mary University of London, explained to BBC Radio 4 that after a long discussion, the panel decided that the Harry Potter series “was primarily a children’s book.”

“In terms of the space over that decade, which was the ’90s when more and more books were coming out across the Commonwealth, it was decided to make space for a book that was good and equally well received,” she added.

In a press release, The Reading Agency explained that the list was not only about celebrating great books, but also about shining a “spotlight on lesser-known books and authors that deserve recognition.”

See the full Big Jubilee Read list below:

1952-1961

The Palm-Wine Drinkard, by Amos Tutuola (1952, Nigeria)

The Hills Were Joyful Together, by Roger Mais (1953, Jamaica)

In the Castle of My Skin, by George Lamming (1953, Barbados)

My Bones and My Flute, by Edgar Mittelholzer (1955, Guyana)

The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon (1956, Trinidad and Tobago/England)

The Guide, by R. K. Narayan (1958, India)

To Sir, With Love, by E. R. Braithwaite (1959, Guyana)

One Moonlit Night, by Caradog Prichard (1961, Wales)

A House for Mr Biswas, by VS Naipaul (1961, Trinidad and Tobago/England)

Sunlight on a Broken Column, by Attia Hosain (1961, India)

 

1962-1971

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (1962, England)

The Interrogation, by J.M.G. Le Clézio (1963, France/Mauritius)

The Girls of Slender Means, by Muriel Spark (1963, Scotland)

Arrow of God, by Chinua Achebe (1964, Nigeria)

Death of a Naturalist, by Seamus Heaney (1966, Northern Ireland)

Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys (1966, Dominica/Wales)

A Grain of Wheat, by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1967, Kenya)

Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay (1967, Australia)

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah (1968, Ghana)

When Rain Clouds Gather, by Bessie Head (1968, Botswana/South Africa)

 

1972-1981

The Nowhere Man, by Kamala Markandaya (1972, India)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, by John Le Carré (1974, England)

The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough (1977, Australia)

The Crow Eaters, by Bapsi Sidhwa (1978, Pakistan)

The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch (1978, England)

Who Do You think You Are?, by Alice Munro (1978, Canada)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (1979, England)

Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard (1980, South Africa)

Clear Light of Day, by Anita Desai (1980, India)

Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie (1981, England/India)

 

1982-1991

Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally (1982, Australia)

Beka Lamb, by Zee Edgell (1982, Belize)

The Bone People, by Keri Hulme (1984, New Zealand)

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1985, Canada)

Summer Lightning, by Olive Senior (1986, Jamaica)

The Whale Rider, by Witi Ihimaera (1987, New Zealand)

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989, England)

Omeros, by Derek Walcott (1990, Saint Lucia)

The Adoption Papers, by Jackie Kay (1991, Scotland)

Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton (1991, Australia)

 

1992-2001

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (1992, Canada/Sri Lanka)

The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields (1993, Canada)

Paradise, by Abdulrazak Gurnah (1994, Tanzania/England)

A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry (1995, India/Canada)

Salt, by Earl Lovelace (1996, Trinidad and Tobago)

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy (1997, India)

The Blue Bedspread, by Raj Kamal Jha (1999, India)

Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee (1999, South Africa/Australia)

White Teeth, by Zadie Smith (2000, England)

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (2001, Canada)

 

2002-2011

Small Island, by Andrea Levy (2004, England)

The Secret River, by Kate Grenville (2005, Australia)

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (2005, Australia)

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006, Nigeria)

A Golden Age, by Tahmima Anam (2007, Bangladesh)

The Boat, by Nam Le (2008, Australia)

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (2009, England)

The Book of Night Women, by Marlon James (2009, Jamaica)

The Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna (2010, Sierra Leone/Scotland)

Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka (2010, Sri Lanka)

 

2012-2021

Our Lady of the Nile, by Scholastique Mukasonga (2012, Rwanda)

The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton (2013, New Zealand)

Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue (2016, Cameroon)

The Bone Readers, by Jacob Ross (2016, Grenada)

How We Disappeared, by Jing-Jing Lee (2019, Singapore)

Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (2019, England)

The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo (2019, Malaysia)

Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart (2020, Scotland)

A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam (2021, Sri Lanka)

The Promise, by Damon Galgut (2021, South Africa)

THE SCROLL

Here are the 5 Books on Bill Gates’ Holiday Reading ListThe billionaire philanthropist is giving hundreds of copies to little libraries around the world


Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards: Authors Nicholas Herring, Dan Werb Nab Top PrizesThe Writers' Trust of Canada awards amounted to a combined monetary prize value of $270,000.


Bob Dylan Releases ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ a Book of Essays Dissecting 66 Influential SongsIn his new book, Bob Dylan offers up both critique and historical insight into various musical recordings of the last century by a variety of popular artists.


Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Will Be Published in January 2023The long-awaited memoir will tell with "raw unflinching honesty" Prince Harry's journey from "trauma to healing", his publisher said on Thursday.


Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


Canadian Council for the Arts Reveals Governor General’s Literary Awards FinalistsThe finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards spotlight books in both the English and French language, as well as translated works.


New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School WritersMichelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission.


French Author Annie Ernaux, 82, Becomes First French Woman to Win Nobel Prize for LiteratureThe author said, of winning, that "I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer."


Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


> STAY UP TO DATE

Sign Up for the Weekly Book Club Newsletter