Lit not fit for Brits: U.K. schools dropping American novels


"To Kill A Mockingbird," "Of Mice and Men," "The Crucible" — three classic American works of literature that will be dropped from exam board lists in the United Kingdom to make room for British novels.

It's a change in curriculum that the country's Department for Education says is being overblown. But it's upset a lot of British writers and academics, who fear nationalism is taking root in U.K. schools.

"We should be choosing the best literature from around the world. I don't care where it's from as long as it's good literature." (Via Channel 4)

A member of one of the U.K.'s biggest exam boards tells The Sunday Times the nation's conservative education secretary, Michael Gove, is behind the change, saying: "Of Mice and Men, which Michael Gove really dislikes, will not be included. It was studied by 90% of teenagers taking English literature GCSE in the past. ... Michael Gove said that was a really disappointing statistic."

Gove is already a somewhat controversial figure in Britain ... 

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CHARLIE BROOKER: "Education minister Michael Gove has been under attack. Critics say he's been giving jobs to his friends, which isn't mathematically possible." (Via BBC)

... and he's received a lot of backlash for the curriculum change. "Sherlock" co-creator Mark Gatiss called Gove a "dangerous philistine." (Via Twitter / @Markgatiss)

But it's worth noting American classics are not being banned — just dropped from requirements. Gove says he actually loves "Of Mice and Men" and says the changes to curriculum will broaden the types of literature read in U.K. schools.

Under next school year's policy, students will have to read at least one play by Shakespeare, one modern fiction or drama written in the British Isles and one 19th century novel written anywhere. That's supposed to ensure a more diverse reading list, though critics say it won't allow much room for non-British works. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

On what might be a related note, British sales of "To Kill a Mockingbird" have jumped over the last few days. The book moved up to Amazon U.K.'s ninth spot in the bestseller list Monday.

And the book's British publisher tweeted, "Mr Gove, please dis another one of our books."



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