The big read

The original was created by the BBC, the British public service. In 2007 BNT bought the license for the BBC campaign at the suggestion of the member of the board of Bulgarian National Television, Sevda Shishmanova, who headed its realization. Bulgarian National Television received the special acknowledgement of the BBC for its survey as the television who created the best version of the original outside the United Kingdom.

The Big Read began on October 5, 2008 and lasted six months until March 15, 2009. Daily throughout the country thousands of Bulgarians voted for their favorite novel – the book of books, the novel of their life, the novel of all novels.

The Big Read is the first television show in Bulgaria of such a scale, including two-hour-long live shows, with the participation of the cultural elite of the nation and weekly shows on reading. BNT, with the BBC’s approval, worked on the unique two-month mobile format “Travelling Library” which toured all district towns around the country, attracting people of different ages with a special idea – to exchange books. The Travelling Library turned into an impressive outdoor project, which drew in schools, community centers, municipalities, it became a national event. The first educational format in Bulgaria in the media sphere began with an impressive advertising campaign: educational videos, short videos “Did you know?” and billboards in the city, promotion stickers in public transportation, new presentations, accompanying initiatives and events – literary readings, donation of books, events and happenings, discussions and public debates, competitions, carnivals, clubs. The interactive web page with its voting, forum, polls, interviews and literary news, registered up to 4000 visits per day. All of this was done in quest of the answer to the question: What is your favorite book?

The 12 novels at the final were picked from the initial viewer top 100 list – those that had collected the largest number of votes. The Big Read ended with 12 screen versions of these novels and a final show at which Bulgaria’s favorite book was chosen – the novel Under the Yoke by Ivan Vazov.

The Big Read turned into an important and memorable experience for the whole country, in a cause for over one million Bulgarians, viewers of BNT and passionate book lovers.

The passionate emotions expressed as the campaign progressed attracted the interest of the widest circles of Bulgarian society, as well as the cooperation of all Bulgarian institutions. The campaign initiated a long-lasting process of initiatives, connected to the popularizing of books and reading.


Sevda Shishmanova

Журналист в новините, актуалните и публицистични предавания на БНТ. Репортер, международен кореспондент, коментатор, ръководител на екип и автор на документални филми. Автор на статии във вестник “Капитал”. Режисьор и продуцент.



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