New chapter at UC for Book of the Year

New chapter at UC for Book of the Year

Amanda Jones

5 December 2012: A new project that will see all commencing undergraduate students given the same book to read no matter what course they are starting was launched at the University of Canberra last week, with the announcement of the inaugural University of Canberra Book of the Year.

Selected by a panel of experts, Jasper Jones, written by Craig Silvey, will be offered to staff and commencing students of the University, as well as commencing University of Canberra College students and Year 12 students at UC Senior Secondary College, Lake Ginninderra, as part of the new UC Book Project.


Author Craig Silvey and University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Nick Klomp launch the UC Book Project. Photo: Michelle McAulay

The novel, which has been described as the Australian version of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, will be available as a paperback or a downloadable eBook. As part of the project, each year a different book will be chosen and themes from the book will be incorporated into different units and programs, as well as extra-curricular activities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Nick Klomp said the project aims to enhance the first-year experience of students, increase their knowledge of contemporary and global issues, and foster a sense of community among students.

“Many universities around the world have a freshman or common reading program, where a book is chosen each year that all commencing students are encouraged to read. There are many well-documented benefits to this and I look forward to bringing this initiative to the University of Canberra,” Professor Klomp said.

Craig Silvey

Craig Silvey’s novel 'Jasper Jones' was chosen as the inaugural University of Canberra Book of the Year. Photo: Michelle McAulay

“I am especially excited about the chosen book: Jasper Jones. It is a terrific book that will appeal to a broad readership. I think staff and students will love it.

“The University of Canberra is well-known for its innovative approaches to student engagement and this project adds yet another point of difference for our students. It won’t matter what course you are starting, you will find you have something in common with all commencing students and staff,” he added.

Craig Silvey attended the launch event on 28 November, saying he was delighted his book had been chosen to launch the project.

“Since the journey of a written story is always taken alone and pondered internally, literature is so often about the private connection made between the writer and the reader. This project is special because it’s about reading as an act of community, broadening the conversation and sharing the intimate experience.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be involved with this project as well as humbled that Jasper Jones was selected for such an important task,” he said.

This year’s selection panel included patron of the National Year of Reading William McInnes, award-winning author Nigel Featherstone, National Library of Australia Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Professor Klomp and University of Canberra arts and humanities Professor Jen Webb.

Those staff and students who choose the paperback version (instead of an eBook) will be encouraged to share or recycle the book, with pre-loved books being centrally collected and provided to local high schools.

Read more