University launches ‘The Great Read’

The University of Liverpool has launched The Great Read 2020 with the publication of an e-book featuring four short stories, available to all staff and students.

The stories are:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
with introduction by Dr Matthew Bradley

Doris Lessing
A Mild Attack of Locusts
with introduction by Professor Kate Parr and Dr Samuel Solnick

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Thing Around Your Neck
with introduction by Dr Lucienne Loh 

Arthur C Clarke
The Sentinel
with introductions by Dr Phoenix Alexander and Dr Steve Barrett

The stories are written by authors with very different life experiences but who are all shaped by their own experience of change, spanning boundaries of generations, gender, class, national identity and religion.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor said: “All these stories, in one way or another, have much to say about the potential strangeness of human interactions. They speak of questions of belonging, of cultural dislocation and alienation, but they also speak of the human capacity to adapt and more importantly, to thrive, even in the most challenging of circumstances.”

Professor Dinah Birch, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement, said: “In widely divergent ways, these are stories that demonstrate courage in the face of unexpected challenge. Each is a testament to resilience. These stories grew out of four very different literary lives. But they also express a common humanity – brave, thoughtful and always capable of deeper levels of insight.”

There will be a series of events, open to all students, from 5 – 9 October 2020 as part of the University’s Foundation Week for new and returning students.  The events will include a series of panel discussions on the four stories, drawing out their themes of race, gender, space, environment and colonialism. There will also be a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film which was based on The Sentinel, and a pop-up exhibition on Arthur C Clarke.

University of Liverpool staff and students can download the e-book here.