Novel Perceptions: Towards an inclusive canon

What really makes a good book? Let us know in our Reader Review survey

Who decides what’s part of the canon of English literature? Why are some books considered more ‘literary’ than others? And can computers help us understand literary quality?

Novel Perceptions: Towards an Inclusive Canon brings together an international team of literary scholars, computational linguists, sociologists and psychologists to map the public’s reading preferences and investigate how the canon – the books generally agreed to be good, important and worth studying – continues to be shaped by a variety of factors. Based at the University of Wolverhampton and led by Prof Sebastian Groes, this radically interdisciplinary project explores the role of novels in contemporary British culture: what do we really think makes a good book?

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we’re working with partners including Libraries Connected, The Reading Agency, the British Library and the Being Human festival, as well as with BBC Arts’ The Novels That Shaped Our World, and will be staging events and activities throughout 2021 exploring what we read and why.

We’ve recently launched our Reader Review survey, which aims to be the largest ever survey of attitudes towards contemporary fiction. How many of these 400 novels have you read? Take the survey and have your say!