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Start off at St George’s by reading and sharing a good book!

As a new student at St George’s you will receive an ebook copy of Airhead by award-winning broadcast journalist Emily Maitlis. It is part of an initiative called the Big Read which aims to create a sense of community through shared reading, to help incoming students feel welcome and settle into the university environment.  

A number of events, such as book club meetings and themed discussions, will offer you the opportunity to meet other people, discuss themes from the book, and engage in thought-provoking conversations.

Staff and existing students can also receive a copy of Airhead to join in the reading and participate in events so all can discover St George’s community anew.

If you are a member of St George’s staff or an existing student, email Alina Apostu, Student Experience Officer, at to find out how to access your copy of the ebook.

All are invited to join The Big Read Microsoft Teams site to connect with fellow students and staff, learn about events, and share your experiences!

Big Read 2020

Airhead by Emily Maitlis

The cover for Emily Maitlis's book Airhead.

From Prince Andrew to David Attenborough, Donald Trump and Emma Thompson, Maitlis has met some of the most influential people in politics and entertainment. Her book dives into the challenges of producing nuanced, contextualised coverage in an ever-accelerating news cycle. Her accounts range from profound experiences reporting on tragedies, to more surreal and humorous interactions with familiar faces.

About Emily Maitlis

Emily Maitlis was born in Ontario, Canada and grew up in Sheffield, the youngest of three sisters. She graduated from Cambridge and began her journalism career on a radio news programme in Hong Kong. She joined the BBC in 2001 and last year became the lead anchor of Newsnight's first-ever all-female team. Her reporting has resonated with viewers, with more than 265,000 followers on Twitter. In 2017 she was named Broadcast Journalist of the Year at the London Press Club Awards. At the RTS Television Journalism Awards she won Network Presenter of the Year in both 2019 and 2020.





Message to students from this year’s Big Read author, Emily Maitlis

Big Read 2020 events

Launch event – August, September 2020

Marcus Jackson, Associate Dean for Student Experience, will present the Big Read initiative during 2020 virtual Induction.

Creative writing workshop – October 2020

Five ways in which you can start and keep a writing practice going – and five reasons why you should bother

We are pleased to offer a practical and informative workshop exploring how and why it’s worth building a writing practice – even though your life is already packed. Alison will cover both the benefits and the practical stages involved, and the workshop will be peppered with opportunities for practical involvement – with plenty of opportunities for questions.

In the long run, writing and reflecting builds empathy, objectivity, and can provide a means of further income in the future (as Dr Adam Kay knows well).

The session will draw on a range of sources for inspiration, including ‘Airhead’ by Emily Maitlis — the book chosen for this year’s Big Read at St George’s. The session is also part of the Big Read’s schedule of activities. Alison is the author of ‘Is there a book in you?’ and ‘Marketing your book, an author’s guide’ – both published by Bloomsbury – and jointly established Kingston’s MA Publishing at Kingston (now the top such course in London).

Prof Alison Baverstock, Kingston University.

Find out more about our creative workshops.

Book club sessions – November 2020; February, April 2021

These meetings are run by the Library and will delve into specific chapters of the book. Join us for an in-depth exploration of the themes of the book and express your thoughts in a friendly and lively group.

Themed Discussions – December 2020; January, March, May 2021

These sessions will feature invited guests drawing on their experiences and their reading of chapters dealing with themes such as the environment (December 2020), grief (January 2021), meditation (March 2021), or movement and sport (May 2021). The sessions will consist of a short talk by the speaker and plenty of time for Q&A and discussion. Be sure to register your interest and join in the discussion.

… and more!

Keep an eye out for communications about other exciting events underway.

For any questions, email Alina Apostu, Student Experience Officer, at


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