Reading for Normal, British Academy Covid-19 Award

Reading has provided refuge for many young people during the Covid-19 pandemic. Reading for Normal explores the benefits of providing teen readers with a temporary digital community for talking about their own lives in relation to fiction. The project asks what is gained when young people from around the UK encounter recognisable pre-pandemic worlds in British young adult literature (YA) and discuss these together. It examines how this shared experience can help address the challenges that lockdown has brought, including threats to mental health and wellbeing. The project also critiques problematic ideas of ‘normality’ in relation to adolescence, instead aiming to foster understanding of the common moments of ‘ordinariness’ that appear in textual representations of everyday British life. The project has an associated national reading programme: