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BBC Arts has announced the initial line-up and the six exciting new books chosen for a new series of Between The Covers, a six-part series on BBC Two designed to bring the nation together by sharing the enjoyment of reading.

Sara Cox returns as host and is joined in each episode by a panel of four famous guests to discuss a newly published book which deserves to be put in the spotlight. The books are a carefully selected mix of genres that aims to include something for everyone. Each guest also has a BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) guaranteed to spark a discussion.

This year, as Liverpool and the UK prepare to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, each episode will also feature a novel set in a Eurovision country.

The celebrity panellists keen to share their love of reading include Meera Syal, Alan Davies, Samantha Bond, Mel Giedroyc, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sara Pascoe, Katie Melua, Adam Garcia, Cerys Matthews, Charlie Higson, Nick Knowles, Laura Whitmore, Angela Scanlon, DJ Spoony, Rob Rinder, Sunetra Sarker, Ivo Graham, Sophie Duker, Helen McGinn, Ore Oduba, Sara Barron, Gethin Jones and Joe Thomas.

The six newly published books carefully selected for the series (in broadcast order) are:

  • In The Blink Of An Eye, by Jo Callaghan

  • The Space Between Us, by Doug Johnstone

  • Weyward, by Emilia Hart

  • Strange Sally Diamond, by Liz Nugent

  • Hungry Ghosts, by Kevin Jared Hosein

  • Old God’s Time, by Sebastian Barry

The books set in Eurovision countries, in broadcast order, are:

  • Burial Rights, by Hannah Kent (Iceland)

  • Lullaby, by Leïla Slimani (France)

  • Death And The Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)

  • The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson (Finland)

  • I’m Not Scared, by Niccolò Ammaniti (Italy)

  • My Family And Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell (Greece)

Sara Cox says: “Cannot wait to welcome more witty, wise and wonderful guests in to the world’s friendliest book club as we delve ‘between the covers’ for the sixth time!”

"We have six brand new books that I think might just be the best half dozen yet. Prepare to be taken on a whistle-stop tour of Europe - as we celebrate Eurovision by exploring six fantastic books set in countries competing in this year’s song contest. Plus of course our guests bring in their most treasured tome to wax lyrical about - so get ready for your teetering TBR [To Be Read] pile to be topped with more brilliant books.”

Amanda Ross, CEO of Cactus TV, who heads the book selection panel, says: “Our new book picks for this series are from an exciting mix of debut and renowned authors. They span centuries and continents, with incredible characters dealing with a wide range of adversity, from Witches to AI and Aliens. I can’t wait to see what our wonderful panellists make of them.”

Between The Covers gives BBC audiences across the UK the opportunity to take part in an inclusive book club inspiring new readers as well as avid bookaholics. The 12 selected books featured in the series will be labelled with Between The Covers stickers in shops, libraries and online so that audiences can read and join the conversation on social media using #BetweenTheCovers.

Between The Covers (6 x 30’) was commissioned by Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts and BBC Two. Created and produced by Cactus TV, Exec Produced by Amanda Ross with Series Producer Pollyanne Conway.


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