Mohsin Hamid’s acclaimed novel “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” is to be required summer reading for all new students at one of Britain’s leading universities.
The University of St Andrews is gifting a copy of the Man Booker-shortlisted work to every one of its 1500 new undergraduates in a new initiative designed to offer students a common topic for discussion and focus energies on reading and intellectual debate.
The scheme is being generously supported by The Booker Prize Foundation. Each year, the University Principal, Dr Louise Richardson, in consultation with Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Foundation, will choose a different work from the prize shortlist for distribution to all St Andrews’ intending undergraduates.
New students will receive their copy of the book during the summer and will be invited to sign up for Orientation Week ‘Book Group’ meetings to discuss the book with other new entrants and St Andrews’ academics.
Mohsin Hamid has agreed to visit St Andrews for two days in October 2009 to give a lecture, read from his works and sign copies of his book.
The program was conceived by Principal Louise Richardson and Jonathan Taylor, and will be continued every year.
She said, “I am very grateful to The Booker Prize Foundation for their support and tremendously excited by the possibilities of this initiative.
“We are a university, we are about books, ideas, learning and debate this simply underlines our commitment to reading and discussion and allows us to offer all our new students a stimulating common experience as they join our community.”
Jonathan Taylor, chair of The Booker Prize Foundation, said, “St Andrews is to be congratulated on launching this exciting initiative which is unique amongst universities in the UK.”
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Ref: Booker prize project 01/06/09
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