Margaret Atwood, George R.R. Martin, Gaye King, Lauren Graham, John Irving, and Bill T. Jones are among those lending their voices to PBS’s The Great American Read. PBS CEO Paula Kerger announced the celebs at TCA Tuesday morning, also including Devon Kennard, Diane Lane, Lesley Stahl Junot Diaz.
They will share personal stories about their favorite titles for the Nutopia-produced eight-part TV competition PBS says in in service of promoting reading.
The Great American Read launches with a two hour special on Tuesday, May 22 on PBS stations. Over 15 weeks in the summer, viewers can read and vote on their favorite work of fiction. The series will return in the fall to explore nominated books and will conclude with a finale and countdown to the winner.
The list of 100 titles competing will be chosen from a “demographically representative national survey,” PBS says. The 100 candidates were chosen by the public in a specially commissioned, demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov.
An advisory panel, composed of 13 literary professionals, set ground rules and “minimally influence” the final list to break ties and maximize the variety, according to the programming service.
Members of the advisory panel include:
Lisa Lucas, Executive Director, National Book Foundation; Aaron Curtis, Bookseller, Quartermaster of Books&Books, Coral Cables, FL; Ron Charles, Book Editor, Washington Post; Kim Hubbard, Books Editor, People Magazine; Kevin Young, Director, Schomburg Center for Black Culture; Nancy Pearl, Librarian, Blogger and Author; Shanna Peeples, Educator, Coach, Advocate, 2015 Teacher of the Year; Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor, Publishers Weekly; Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director, Authors Guild, NY; Chandler Arnold, Chief Operating Officer, First Book; Rob Casper, Head of Poetry and Literature Center, Library of Congress; Kirk Whisler, Executive Director of Latino Literacy Now & National Latino Media Council Board Member; Gerald Maa, Editor-in-Chief, The Asian American Literary Review.