Press Release: The Great American Read, A New Multi-Platform PBS Series

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THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, A NEW MULTI-PLATFORM PBS SERIES, REVEALS LIST OF AMERICA’S 100 FAVORITE NOVELS 

– Eight-Part Series Profiling America’s Favorite Books to Premiere
May 22 on PBS Stations With Two-Hour Event – 

– Nationwide Summer Reading Initiative Will Culminate in Vote for 

“America’s Best-Loved Novel” – 

– Barbara Pierce Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Gillian Flynn, Diana
Gabaldon, Jenna Bush Hager, Chris Kluwe, Diane Lane, George Lopez,
Armistead Maupin, Seth Meyers, 

Cynthia Nixon, James Patterson, Jason Reynolds, Ming-Na Wen, Wil
Wheaton, 

Venus Williams and Many More Featured in the Series – 

ARLINGTON, VA; April 20, 2018 - PBS today unveiled a list of
America’s 100 best-loved novels, chosen in support of THE GREAT
AMERICAN READ, a new PBS series and multi-platform initiative that
celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love. THE GREAT
AMERICAN READ, hosted by television personality and journalist
MEREDITH VIEIRA, launches with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, May 22,
2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations and will introduce viewers to the full
list of America’s 100 favorite novels [1] selected through a
demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov
[2]. The series will also feature interviews with celebrities,
authors, superfans and everyday Americans discussing the way
particular books have influenced them and their significance in
American popular culture. Then, after a multi-platform initiative
throughout the summer, which will include live public events, social
media components and national reading clubs, the series will resume in
the fall with several themed episodes, including an exciting finale,
culminating in the first-ever national vote to choose “America’s
Best-Loved Novel.” It will be the most expansive national
celebration of books and reading aimed at engaging multi-generational
readers across multiple platforms ever created.  

“There is perhaps no greater experience than discovering a novel
that takes hold of you, works itself into your heart and your mind,
changes the way you think or takes you into another world,” said
Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “With THE GREAT AMERICAN READ,
we will leverage our combined broadcast and digital presence, along
with the strong local connections of PBS member stations, to inspire a
national conversation about beloved books and the power of reading.”


“The 100 novels selected have a special place in our hearts as they
share our stories and celebrate the depth and range of our culture,”
said Jane Root, CEO and founder of Nutopia. “I have no idea which
book will come out on top, but I am so excited to join the journey and
discover America’s most loved novel.” 

Voting will open with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on
May 22 and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the grand
finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers will be able to vote
at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook
and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. In the fall, viewers will also be
able to cast their vote toll-free by phone and through SMS texting. 

Authors, celebrities and notables joining the search for
“America’s Best-Loved Novel” include Diana Gabaldon, George
Lopez, Seth Meyers, Junot Diaz, Lauren Graham, John Green, John
Irving, Bill T. Jones, Devon Kennard, Gayle King, George R.R. Martin,
Wynton Marsalis, Lesley Stahl, Ming-Na Wen and many more, each of whom
will share their personal stories and connections to their favorite
book. 

Whether it’s rediscovering an old favorite or engaging with a new
title, THE GREAT AMERICAN READ program will encourage people to read
as many novels as they can from the top 100 list, discuss them in
virtual and community events organized by local public television
stations, libraries and book reading clubs, and vote all summer for
their favorites. The campaign will culminate in a list of America’s
favorite works of fiction and ultimately, America’s number one
novel. 

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is supported by an extensive multi-platform
digital and social media campaign designed to inspire Americans to
read, vote and share their personal connections to titles on the top
100 list and beyond over the course of the summer. This includes an
interactive website, links to local events, interactive video content,
social share features and much more. As part of the experience, PBS
Digital Studios will develop and produce unique programming across its
award-winning YouTube Channels and an original miniseries on Facebook
Watch. PBS Digital Studios hosts will collaborate with authors,
booktubers and other creators to bring PBS’ legacy of championing
literacy to Digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios’ Facebook Watch
series is inspired by THE GREAT AMERICAN READ and features six video
essays covering broad book-related topics in a highly shareable and
engaging way. 

In addition to the digital and social campaigns, THE GREAT AMERICAN
READ has sparked nationwide community engagement efforts that will
offer stations opportunities to create complementary content; stage
community events; partner with libraries, booksellers, charitable
organizations, schools, and other entities; and deepen the
conversations and connections among people around the country. More
than 100 stations are activating around the project, with stations
such as Detroit Public Television, Nashville Public Television, WLIW
in New York, WETA in Washington, DC, and WUCF in Orlando leading the
charge. Detroit’s literary social media series, “PBS Books,” is
broadening the reach of some of the nation’s biggest book festivals
in support of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ. Nashville and WUCF are
leveraging their already robust community partnerships and sharing
best practices throughout the system. WLIW will utilize its
content-sharing platform, Wavelength, to make customizable companion
programs for THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, and WETA is partnering with PBS
to amplify the excitement around THE GREAT AMERICAN READ. PBS will
continue to work with its stations through the fall to develop
resources that will encourage, promote, and support the local
initiatives that are taking root across the United States. 

Additionally, working with member stations and partners, PBS will
develop resources and materials, including lesson plans and virtual
book clubs, to encourage summer reading activities and extend the
campaign into classrooms for the fall. To complement THE GREAT
AMERICAN READ, over the summer PBS KIDS will also host PBS KIDS READ
as part of an annual summer learning initiative for children ages 2-8
and their families, encouraging reading and related activities through
a variety of resources for kids and parents. 

The top 100 book list released today is based on a public opinion
poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of PBS for THE GREAT AMERICAN
READ, that asked respondents to name their favorite novel. An advisory
panel of book industry professionals compiled the results. Each author
was represented only once, and series such as the _Alex Cross
Mysteries_ were included as one entry. 

The chosen books span five centuries, from _Don Quixote_ (1603) to
_Ghost _(2016). Authors from 15 different countries are represented,
with genres ranging from beloved children’s classics such as
_Charlotte’s Web_ to modern best-sellers such as _Twilight_. 

Below is the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels, in
alphabetical order by title: 

1984 

Hatchet 

A Confederacy of Dunces 

Heart of Darkness 

A Game of Thrones 

The Help 

A Prayer for Owen Meany 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 

A Separate Peace 

The Hunger Games 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 

The Hunt for Red October 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 

The Intuitionist 

The Alchemist 

Invisible Man 

Alex Cross Mysteries** 

Jane Eyre 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

The Joy Luck Club 

Americanah 

Jurassic Park 

And Then There Were None 

Left Behind 

Anne of Green Gables 

The Little Prince 

Another Country 

Little Women 

Atlas Shrugged 

Lonesome Dove 

Beloved 

Looking for Alaska 

Bless Me, Ultima  

The Lord of the Rings** 

The Book Thief 

The Lovely Bones 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 

The Martian 

The Call of the Wild 

Memoirs of a Geisha 

Catch-22  

Mind Invaders 

The Catcher in the Rye 

Moby Dick 

Charlotte’s Web 

The Notebook 

The Chronicles of Narnia  

One Hundred Years of Solitude 

The Clan of the Cave Bear 

Outlander 

The Coldest Winter Ever 

The Outsiders 

The Color Purple 

The Picture of Dorian Gray 

The Count of Monte Cristo 

The Pilgrim’s Progress 

Crime and Punishment 

The Pillars of the Earth 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 

Pride and Prejudice 

The Da Vinci Code 

Ready Player One 

Don Quixote 

Rebecca 

Doña Barbara 

The Shack 

Dune 

Siddhartha 

Fifty Shades of Grey 

The Sirens of Titan 

Flowers in the Attic 

The Stand 

Foundation 

The Sun Also Rises 

Frankenstein 

Swan Song 

Ghost 

Tales of the City 

Gilead 

Their Eyes Were Watching God 

The Giver 

Things Fall Apart 

The Godfather 

This Present Darkness 

Gone Girl 

To Kill a Mockingbird 

Gone with the Wind 

Twilight 

The Grapes of Wrath 

War and Peace 

Great Expectations 

Watchers 

The Great Gatsby 

The Wheel of Time** 

Gulliver’s Travels 

Where the Red Fern Grows 

The Handmaid’s Tale 

White Teeth 

Harry Potter ** 

Wuthering Heights 

_**Denotes a series title _ 

Funding for THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is provided by The Anne Ray
Foundation and PBS. In addition, the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting (CPB) has provided grants, in partnership with PBS, to
public media stations across the country to create local content and
host screenings and forums to encourage summer reading and
participation in the initiative. 

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is a production of Nutopia for PBS. The
program is executive produced by Jane Root, Michael Cascio, Bob Kirsh
and Charles Marquardt; co-executive produced by Rebecca Ratliff
Cameron; line produced by Rachael Jerahian; and produced by Nilam
Agrawal-Desai, Katherine Linton, Kate Chumley, Justine Simonson,
Michelle Smawley, Siobhan Lockhart, Annie Wong and Tomek Gross. Bill
Gardner, VP of Programming and Development, is executive in charge for
PBS and Bethany Latham is project director. 

Amplifying the on-air and online series content will be a fully
illustrated companion book, _The Great American Read: The Book of
Books_, which will include information about the 100 novels, author
profiles, rare images of original manuscripts and more, plus a
foreword by THE GREAT AMERICAN READ host Meredith Vieira, to be
published by Black Dog & Leventhal in August 2018. 

ABOUT NUTOPIA 

Nutopia, a leading television production company creating
award-winning, premium content on a global scale. Founded in 2008 by
Jane Root, former president of Discovery Channel US, controller of
BBC2 and co-founder of Wall to Wall TV, Nutopia innovated the “mega
doc” model, blending huge-scale history series and high-profile
talent from the worlds of documentary and drama. Nutopia has become
synonymous with creating high-quality content that stands out from the
crowd, working with some of the most prominent global broadcasters
including Netflix, CNN, National Geographic, the BBC, PBS and A+E
Networks. Critical successes include the Emmy Award-winning series
_How We Got to Now _and Emmy Award-winning series _America The Story
of Us_. Upcoming projects include National Geographic’s 10-hour
flagship factual event _One Strange Rock_, the landmark art-history
series _Civilizations_ for BBC and PBS, and _Babies_ for Netflix. 

ABOUT PBS 

PBS [3], with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the
opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and
digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 90 million people
through television and 30 million people online, inviting them to
experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs;
to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class
drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been
consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award
competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn
to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom
lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier
children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical
literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find
success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS
KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a
24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org [4], via an array of mobile apps
and in communities across America. More information about PBS is
available at www.pbs.org [3], one of the leading dot-org websites on
the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter [5], Facebook [6] or
through our apps for mobile and connected devices [7]. Specific
program information and updates for press are available at
pbs.org/pressroom [8] or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter [9].  

 

Links:
------
[1] http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/
[2] https://today.yougov.com/
[3] http://www.pbs.org/
[4] http://pbskids.org/
[5] https://twitter.com/pbs
[6] https://www.facebook.com/pbs
[7] http://www.pbs.org/anywhere/home/
[8] http://pressroom.pbs.org/
[9] https://twitter.com/pbspressroom
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