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Reading matters

There's nothing like a list for winding people up. Who's on it? Who's left off it and why? Hours of argument and umbrage.

The Big Jubilee Read, produced by the BBC and The Reading Agency is no different. It is meant to celebrate seven decades of "literary masterpieces" and some of the omissions are staggering: no Sebastian Faulks; no Tolkien; no Graham Greene; no Angela Carter to name but a few.

The biggest stink has been caused by the exclusion of J.K. Rowling, originally on the longlist with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. According to Susheila Nasta, Emeritus Professor of Modern Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, there was a big discussion about Rowling.

"A space was cleared for someone equally as good but whose work was not as well known. There were some very tricky decisions," she said.

Come off it, Professor Nasta, she was never going to make your shortlist after standing up for women in these ultra woke times.

Still, at least the Queen won't be losing any sleep over The Big Jubilee Read. Give her a copy of the Racing Post and she'll be more than happy!


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