Nottingham City of Literature free book giveaway set to return this summer

From 1st July – 11th August, 2000 free books will be handed out across Nottingham.

Four Young Adult titles available to choose from, chosen by Nottingham City of Literature young ambassadors and Youth Advisory Board.

Big City Reads 2024 campaign theme will focus on a ‘ Sense of belonging’, exploring themes of acceptance, inclusion, and identity.

The campaign aims to inspire young minds with uplifting stories and promote reading for wellbeing.

Nottingham City of Literature’s Big City Reads campaign is set to return this Summer, with 2000 books to be given out across the City, and in communities where young people have limited access to books of their own.

Now in its third year, the free book giveaway campaign will feature four compelling Young Adult titles. Selected from a longlist of 56 books by Nottingham City of Literature’s young ambassadors and Youth Advisory Board, these titles are chosen to resonate with teen and young adult audiences, ensuring their relevance and appeal.

Centred on the theme of ‘Belonging,’ this year’s selected titles will delve into themes of acceptance, inclusion, and identity, giving readers the opportunity to engage in a city-wide shared reading experience.

The campaign hopes to empower and inspire young minds with feel-good, upbeat stories, alongside promoting reading as a practice that enhances wellbeing.

Hannah Trevarthen, Director of Nottingham City of Literature said:

“We are incredibly proud to launch this year’s Big City Reads campaign. By distributing free books to young people and young adults, particularly those from areas of deprivation across Nottingham, we aim to bridge the gap in access to literature and empower young people through the transformative power of reading.

“Books can be a source of inspiration, comfort, and connection, and our goal is to ensure that every young person, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to experience this. We believe that by fostering a love of reading and exploring themes of acceptance and identity, we can help young people feel a stronger sense of belonging within their communities and the wider world.”

The Nottingham City of Literature Big City Reads 2024 books are:

Vern: Custodian of the Universe by Tyrell Waiters, published by Flying Eye Books.

A thought-provoking and hilarious romp through time and space from debut creator, Tyrell Waiters, that explores what it means to be human in a world that is becoming more confusing and frightening by the day.

On the edge of burnout, Vern decides to return to his family in the Sunshine State to start over. Starting a new dead-end job as a custodian at Quasar—a local science facility with a shady motive—he shrugs on his uniform, grabs a mop and bucket, and trudges off to clean up… Black holes? Space-time anomalies? Galactic ooze? Things aren’t entirely what they seem at Quasar, and when Vern accidentally plugs in a mysterious machine and finds himself standing on the brink of the destruction of every planet in the Multiverse, he finds himself presented with the greatest question of all: what is the point?

Electric Life by Rachel Delahaye, published by Troika Books

Alara’s incredible gaming skills bring her to the attention of the leaders of Estrella, the ‘Star city’. She is chosen to go on a dangerous mission to London Under, the original older, long-deserted and distrusted city on top of which Estrella was built. Her task is to gather vital intelligence.

Estrella is the ‘perfect’ society: an immaculate, sanitised, hyper-connected environment where everything is channelled through the digital medium. There is no dirt, no pain, no disease and no natural world. Feelings like boredom are frowned upon and discouraged.

Alara is dropped down to London Under and into a new-old world that bewilders and disorientates her. How will she survive in a society where noise, dirt and sometimes pain are everyday experiences, and where food is not synthetic and tastes real? Will she accomplish her mission? Who can she trust? How will she get back to her family and her worry-free life in Estrella?

This fast-paced and thrilling story set in a fictional yet believable future explores important themes and asks some big questions about where our society could be heading.

Stand Up Ferran Burke by Steven Camden, published by Macmillan
Comic collector
Vinyl connoiseur
Air Jordan enthusiast
In his mind, Ferran Burke is many things
But to everyone else he is just one,
Emile Burke’s little brother
and Emile is all about himself.

Now Ferran is stepping into the new world of high school alone and needs to learn quickly how to survive.
New allies. New enemies. New feelings. New passions.

A time capsule coming-of-age story spanning five years of one boy’s life as he navigates the chaos trying to find himself.
Friends. Fights. Family. Food.
Playing with form and visuals throughout
Stand Up Ferran Burke is a verse novel as unique as the boy at its heart.

Seven Million Sunflowers by Malcolm Duffy, published by Head of Zeus

Escaping war is only half the battle as the Kovalenko family swap Ukrainian dangers for life with a British family.

15-year-old Kateryno and her family live in Kharkiv. Their lives are shattered when on February 24th 2022 the Russian army invades. Their apartment block is struck by a missile. After weeks living in their basement, Kateryno, her mother, and brother, decide to leave, joining seven million Ukrainian refugees. They come to England and meet their host family, the Hawkins. But their new beginning brings a whole new set of problems.

The Nottingham City of Literature Big City Reads campaign will be running from 1st July to 11th August 2024. For more information, please visit:

Posted on 04 June 2024

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Georgia Cowdrey