BBC list of 100 'most inspiring' novels

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On 5 November 2019, the BBC published a list of novels selected by a panel of six writers and critics, who had been asked to choose 100 English language novels "that have had an impact on their lives".[1] The resulting list of "100 novels that shaped our world",[1] called the "100 'most inspiring' novels" by BBC News,[2] was published by the BBC to kick off a year of celebrating literature.[2][3]

The list triggered comments from critics and other news agencies. News agencies from outside the United Kingdom, like Canadian broadcaster CBC News and Nigerian news website Legit.ng, profiled authors with works included in the list who were nationals of their countries.[4][5] The Guardian noted surprising titles missing from the list, like Moby Dick.[6]

The BBC relied on six experts: Stig Abell, Mariella Frostrup, Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal, Alexander McCall Smith and Syima Aslam.[4][6] The CBC characterized the panel as composed of "writers, curators and critics".[4] According to The Guardian, the list commemorated the publication of Robinson Crusoe, 300 years earlier – "widely seen as the progenitor of the English-language novel".[6]

The panel broke their list into ten categories of ten novels each.[1]

On 5 November 2019 the BBC published a list of the 100 'most inspiring' novels[2]
Title Author First
published[7]
BBC
category
Author's
nationality
Beloved Toni Morrison 1987 Identity American
Days Without End Sebastian Barry 2016 Identity Irish
Fugitive Pieces Anne Michaels 1996 Identity Canadian
Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 2006 Identity Nigerian
Homegoing Yaa Gyasi 2016 Identity Ghanaian-American
Small Island Andrea Levy 2004 Identity British
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath 1963 Identity American
The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy 1997 Identity Indian
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe 1958 Identity Nigerian
White Teeth Zadie Smith 2000 Identity British
Bridget Jones’s Diary Helen Fielding 1996 Love, Sex & Romance British
Forever... Judy Blume 1975 Love, Sex & Romance American
Giovanni's Room James Baldwin 1956 Love, Sex & Romance American
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 1813 Love, Sex & Romance British
Riders Jilly Cooper 1985 Love, Sex & Romance British
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 1937 Love, Sex & Romance American
The Far Pavilions M. M. Kaye 1978 Love, Sex & Romance British
The Forty Rules of Love Elif Shafak 2009 Love, Sex & Romance Turkish
The Passion Jeanette Winterson 1987 Love, Sex & Romance British
The Slaves of Solitude Patrick Hamilton 1947 Love, Sex & Romance British
City of Bohane Kevin Barry 2011 Adventure Irish
Eye of the Needle Ken Follett 1978 Adventure British
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway 1940 Adventure American
His Dark Materials Trilogy Philip Pullman 1995 Adventure British
Ivanhoe Walter Scott 1819 Adventure British
Mr Standfast John Buchan 1919 Adventure British
The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler 1939 Adventure American
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins 2008 Adventure American
The Jack Aubrey Novels Patrick O’Brian 1969 Adventure British
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy J.R.R. Tolkien 1954 Adventure British
A Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin 1996 Life, Death & Other Worlds American
Astonishing the Gods Ben Okri 1995 Life, Death & Other Worlds Nigerian
Dune Frank Herbert 1966 Life, Death & Other Worlds American
Frankenstein Mary Shelley 1818 Life, Death & Other Worlds British
Gilead Marilynne Robinson 2004 Life, Death & Other Worlds American
The Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis 1950 Life, Death & Other Worlds British
The Discworld Series Terry Pratchett 1983 Life, Death & Other Worlds British
The Earthsea Trilogy Ursula K. Le Guin 1968 Life, Death & Other Worlds American
The Sandman Series Neil Gaiman 1989 Life, Death & Other Worlds British
The Road Cormac McCarthy 2006 Life, Death & Other Worlds American
A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini 2007 Politics, Power & Protest Afghan-American
Brave New World Aldous Huxley 1932 Politics, Power & Protest British
Home Fire Kamila Shamsie 2017 Politics, Power & Protest British
Lord of the Flies William Golding 1954 Politics, Power & Protest British
Noughts & Crosses Malorie Blackman 2001 Politics, Power & Protest British
Strumpet City James Plunkett 1979 Politics, Power & Protest Irish
The Color Purple Alice Walker 1982 Politics, Power & Protest American
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 1960 Politics, Power & Protest American
V for Vendetta Alan Moore 1982 Politics, Power & Protest British
Unless Carol Shields 2002 Politics, Power & Protest Canadian
A House for Mr Biswas V. S. Naipaul 1961 Class & Society Trinidadian
Cannery Row John Steinbeck 1945 Class & Society American
Disgrace J.M. Coetzee 1999 Class & Society South-African
Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens 1864 Class & Society British
Poor Cow Nell Dunn 1967 Class & Society British
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Alan Sillitoe 1958 Class & Society British
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Brian Moore 1955 Class & Society British-Canadian
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark 1961 Class & Society British
The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro 1989 Class & Society British
Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys 1966 Class & Society British
Emily of New Moon L. M. Montgomery 1923 Coming of Age Canadian
Golden Child Claire Adam 2019 Coming of Age Trinidadian
Oryx and Crake Margaret Atwood 2003 Coming of Age Canadian
So Long, See You Tomorrow William Maxwell 1979 Coming of Age American
Swami and Friends R. K. Narayan 1935 Coming of Age Indian
The Country Girls Edna O’Brien 1960 Coming of Age Irish
The Harry Potter series J. K. Rowling 1995 Coming of Age British
The Outsiders S. E. Hinton 1967 Coming of Age American
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ Sue Townsend 1982 Coming of Age British
The Twilight Saga Stephenie Meyer 2005 Coming of Age American
A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth 1993 Family & Friendship Indian
Ballet Shoes Noel Streatfeild 1935 Family & Friendship British
Cloudstreet Tim Winton 1991 Family & Friendship Australian
Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons 1932 Family & Friendship British
I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith 1948 Family & Friendship British
Middlemarch George Eliot 1871 Family & Friendship British
Tales of the City Armistead Maupin 1978 Family & Friendship American
The Shipping News E. Annie Proulx 1993 Family & Friendship American
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Anne Brontë 1848 Family & Friendship British
The Witches Roald Dahl 1983 Family & Friendship British
American Tabloid James Ellroy 1995 Crime & Conflict American
American War Omar El Akkad 2017 Crime & Conflict Egyptian-Canadian
Ice Candy Man Bapsi Sidhwa 1988 Crime & Conflict British
Rebecca Daphne du Maurier 1938 Crime & Conflict British
Regeneration Pat Barker 1991 Crime & Conflict British
The Children of Men P.D. James 1992 Crime & Conflict British
The Hound of the Baskervilles Arthur Conan Doyle 1901 Crime & Conflict British
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mohsin Hamid 2007 Crime & Conflict Pakistani
The Talented Mr Ripley Patricia Highsmith 1955 Crime & Conflict American
The Quiet American Graham Greene 1955 Crime & Conflict British
A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole 1980 Rule Breakers American
Bartleby, the Scrivener Herman Melville 1853 Rule Breakers American
Habibi Craig Thompson 2011 Rule Breakers American
How to Be Both Ali Smith 2014 Rule Breakers British
Orlando Virginia Woolf 1928 Rule Breakers American
Nights at the Circus Angela Carter 1984 Rule Breakers British
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 1949 Rule Breakers British
Psmith, Journalist P. G. Wodehouse 1909 Rule Breakers British
The Moor’s Last Sigh Salman Rushdie 1995 Rule Breakers British
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Audre Lorde 1982 Rule Breakers British

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Explore the list of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World". BBC Arts. BBC. 5 November 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "100 'most inspiring' novels revealed by BBC Arts". BBC News. 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2019-11-10. The reveal kickstarts the BBC's year-long celebration of literature.
  3. ^ Sarakshi Rai (2019-11-07). "These are the 100 novels that have shaped our world, according to the BBC: How many of these books have you read?". Esquire magazine. Retrieved 2019-11-10. These novels have all sparked "debate about the novels that have had a big impact on us all personally and culturally".
  4. ^ a b c "Margaret Atwood, L.M. Montgomery, Carol Shields featured on BBC's list of 100 novels that shaped the world". CBC News. 2019-11-08. Retrieved 2019-11-09. Five Canadian books are on the list: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, Unless by Carol Shields, Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and American War by Omar El Akkad.
  5. ^ Sola Budunrin (2019-11-10). "Things Fall Apart, Half of A Yellow Sun named in the list of 100 novels that shaped the world". Legit.ng. Retrieved 2019-11-10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri's novels made the list of 100 novels that shaped the world.
  6. ^ a b c Alison Flood (2019-11-05). "Discworld dishes Moby-Dick: BBC unveils 100 'novels that shaped our world'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-11-10. There’s no Wuthering Heights, no Moby-Dick, no Ulysses, but there is Half of a Yellow Sun, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Discworld: so announced the panel of experts assembled by the BBC to draw up a list of 100 novels that shaped their world.
  7. ^ When the BBC listed a series, the date is the publication of the first novel.