News | London’s BIG READ 2019 Shortlist


Last night saw the launch of London’s BIG READ 2019, with the shortlisted authors announced last night at an event at LIBRARY on St Martin’s Lane. 

The aim of London’s BIG READ is to bring the city together through reading books that expand understanding of our community, and the initiative also raises money through a number of fundraising activities throughout the year for the Children’s Literary Charity, and for Ndoro Children’s Charity.

The 2019 theme is female empowerment, and will culminate in a gala ceremony auction in September 2019. June Sarpong, author of Diversify, was the inaugural winner of London’s BIG READ 2018, with a theme of diversity. Over the next ten months, the 2019 campaign is designed to encourage Londoners to get excited about reading, discover new books, and vote for their ‘favourite book of 2019′ at

Ronald Ndoro, Founder of LIBRARY, said: “We are delighted that London’s BIG READ has found such strong resonance and support in its second edition and will continue to do so throughout this year-long campaign. Our hope is that this activity will bring Londoners together in conversation, shine a light on pressing issues around female empowerment, and – through our charity partnership – support the tremendous work that The Children’s Literacy Charity does in setting up Literacy Labs across London.”

Matthew Hickey, Chief Executive of The Children’s Literacy Charity, added: “We are small but we’re making a big difference through our specialist literacy support for disadvantaged children. Every year, 150,000 of the poorest children start school with language skills one and a half years behind their peers, a gap they won’t recover from. We want to do more, for more children, in more places, more often, so that we can give children the best literacy start to their lives. We have supported over 4,000 children in the last decade and want to build on this for our future. We are both excited and proud to partner with London’s BIG READ to not only help the charity grow, but most importantly to support more children to make the most of their literacy development. Through London’s BIG READ and our Big Give Christmas Challenge we hope to raise funds, which will allow the charity to support more children across London, and beyond.”

From January 2019 onwards, the shortlisted authors and their books will be promoted through a series of talks and events at LIBRARY, centred on the topic of female empowerment, covering mental health, family, relationships, gender equality, careers/work and much more. Copies of the books will be placed on tubes and trains across the City, and the organisers have teamed up with London Book Fair, booksellers, libraries, universities and publishers to raise awareness about the Finalists and the wider London’s BIG READ campaign.

The Finalist’s books will be available to buy from LIBRARY from December 2018, with £1 from each sale going to the Children’s Literacy Charity and a further £1 going to the Ndoro Children’s Charity.


Full shortlist below:


What Would Boudicca Do? Everyday Problems Solved by History’s Most Remarkable Women by Elizabeth Foley & Beth Coates, Illustrated by Bijou Karmen, Faber & Faber

Remember This When You’re Sad by Maggy Van Eijk, Bonnier Books

Help Me! One Woman’s Quest to Find Out if Self Help Really Can Change Her Life by Marianne Power, Picador

A History of the World in 21 Women: A Personal Selection by Jenni Murray, One World Publications

I’m Absolutely Fine! A Manual for Imperfect Women by Annabel Rivkin & Emilie McMeekan, Octopus

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Penguin

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh, Hamish Hamilton

The Dizziness of Freedom edited by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, Saqi Books
Edited by Sabrina Mahfouz

Emily Knight I Am … Awakened by Abiola Bello, Hashtag Press

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill, Hot Key Books

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber, Walker Books

Fearless Mirabelle by Katie Haworth and Nila Aye, Templar

Three Cheers For Women by Marcia Williams, Walker Books


For more information, visit London’s Big Read.

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