The University of Wolverhampton is offering a big read for students who are starting their degree courses over the next few weeks.
Students who have enrolled on a Faculty of Science and Engineering course have been sent a copy of local author, Kit de Waal’s novel, ‘My Name is Leon’, as part of the Big Read campaign – an initiative created by Kingston University as a way of making students feel welcome.
Since 2015, Kingston University has sent a book to every undergraduate and postgraduate student to ensure that new arrivals feel welcome before they arrive.
The Big Read campaign was inspired by similar projects in the United States that showed the benefits of creating a community through shared reading before students arrived at an institution, helping them to settle in to their new environment.
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016, ‘My Name is Leon’, focuses on a 9 year old boy growing up in the 1980s who is searching for a way to reunite his fragmented family.
Nazira Karodia, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The WLV Big Read is part of a wider, national initiative which was introduced by Kingston University to help students feel part of the University community as quickly as possible.
“Hopefully, when our new students join the University family, the book will help them to settle in quickly and give them something in common with the people they meet when they arrive.”
Kit said: “I was an extremely late starter, not going to University until I was 52. It was the best year of my life. When I eventually got the chance to spend a whole year doing something I knew I loved, with other people doing the same, I grabbed it quick, put a lot in and got even more out.
“It’s wonderful to be part of the Big Read campaign and to know that my book will be instrumental in bringing people together as they embark on a new chapter in their own lives.”
Students will be given the chance to talk about the book during Welcome Week at the end of September and they can explore the themes in lectures and tutorials. Later in the year, the author is due to visit the University to answer questions about the book.
‘My Name is Leon’ is Kit de Waal’s first novel, after having written several award-winning short stories. She was born and raised in Birmingham to her Irish foster-carer mother and Caribbean father and grew up to work in both criminal and family law for fifteen years. She has also worked as advisor to the Social Services in writing manuals on the care of foster children. Whilst raising her two adopted children, she also went on to gain her MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University as well as setting up The Kit de Waal Creative Writing Scholarship through Birkbeck, University of London.
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Date Issued: 6th September 2017