(2 December 2016) In 2017 the British Library will, for the first time ever, take some of its most spectacular items on tour to cities around China, beginning with the National Library of Beijing in April. Ten iconic items from the Library’s collections, including Charlotte Brontë’s handwritten manuscript of Jane Eyre and one of the earliest quarto editions of Romeo and Juliet, will be the star items in a major exhibition showcasing British literary and cultural highlights from Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes.
Following the exhibition in Beijing, there will be pop-up displays in other cities across mainland China and Hong Kong, including Shanghai, Wuzhen and others. The British Library will also be launching a Chinese language version of the Discovering Literature website, designed specifically to reach audiences across China and enable them to explore digitised versions of the Library’s greatest literary treasures.
This increased engagement with institutions in China will include a knowledge and skills exchange programme, enabling staff from the Library to visit and work with colleagues in China, while the National Library of China and the other partner institutions will be sending curators and other experts to learn from what the Library is doing here in the UK. The programme is funded by the UK Government as part of an ambitious cultural exchange programme with China. See more here.
UK-India Year of Culture
2017 is the UK-India Year of Culture, and today the BL announced its plans to loan George III’s own copy of one of the world’s most famous books, Shakespeare’s First Folio, for public display at the CSMVS museum in Mumbai in January. The loan is supported by the British Council as part of the GREAT campaign, and builds on the Library’s wider programme of working more closely with sister institutions in India and digitising our extensive collections relating to South Asia, such as the Two Centuries of Indian Print project.
The British Library will be partnering with the Jaipur Literature Festival to host a series of events in Jaipur and London during 2017. In January the Library will be part of the programme in Jaipur that looks at the legacy of Magna Carta, including the loan of a facsimile of the 1215 Magna Carta to be displayed on site during the Festival; and in May, the London leg of the Jaipur Literature Festival will be hosted by the British Library for the first time. See more here.