‘How to Read a Novel’ Online Course 2018 Announced by Book Festival and the University of Edinburgh

‘How to Read a Novel’ Online Course 2018 Announced by Book Festival and the University of Edinburgh
In 2017, the Book Festival partnered with the University of Edinburgh to create a free online course designed to help book lovers get the best out of their reading. Due to its phenomenal success – with more than 20,000 people signing up to take part – we’re delighted to be working with the university again this year to offer readers a new chance to explore an array of texts. 
The Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC), ‘How to Read a Novel’, takes readers on an insightful journey, giving them the tools to appreciate works of fiction and examine what makes a good novel. The course draws on the novels shortlisted for the 2018 James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, along with other classic and contemporary works. 
The shortlists for the James Tait Black Prizes, Britain’s longest running literary awards were announced today, featuring an exciting mix of award-winning writers and emerging talent.
Contenders for the £10,000 fiction prize include novels based around a fictional second civil war in America, a ghost story set in modern-day America, a toxic love affair and a series of experimental short stories. 
Biographies of HRH Princess Margaret – the Queen’s sister – and legendary boxer and activist Muhammad Ali are contenders for the £10,000 biography prize. They feature alongside works on the life and work of the revered novelist Joseph Conrad and a heart-rending memoir of a tragic family holiday.

2018 shortlists in full:

Fiction Prize
American War by Omar El Akkad, (Knopf)
White Tears by Hari Kunzru, (Hamish Hamilton)
First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)
Attrib by Eley Williams (Influx Press)
Biography Prize
The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard (Harvill Secker)
Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown (4th Estate)
Ali, A Life by Jonathan Eig (Simon & Schuster)
The Dawn Watch, Joseph Conrad in a Global World by Maya Jasanoff (William Collins)

The winners of the Prizes – presented annually by the University of Edinburgh – will be announced in a special Book Festival event on Saturday 18 August. There will also be an additional two Book Festival events linked to the MOOC course content and featuring contenders for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction. 

More than 400 books were read by academics and postgraduate students for the University’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, who nominated books for the shortlist. 
Fiction Judge of the James Tait Black Prize, Dr Alex Lawrie of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The books on this year's shortlist are experimental, thoughtful, and provocative. Together they represent the very best that fiction has to offer.”
The James Tait Black Prizes, awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh, were founded in 1919 by Janet Coats, the widow of publisher James Tait Black, to commemorate her husband’s love of good books. 
The prizes are for the best work of fiction and biography during the previous 12 months. They are the only major British book awards judged by literature scholars and students.
Each year the University also awards the James Tait Black Prize for Drama for the best original play written in English, Scots or Gaelic and first performed by a professional company in the previous year.
Participants can sign up for the 2018 ‘How to Read a Novel’ online course which starts in July at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/how-to-read-a-novel/3
For further information on the Prizes, visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/events/james-tait-black
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