2013 sees a transformation of the much-loved Exclusive Books campaign: Boeke, into ‘Exclusive Books Recommends’, a new year-long campaign with a dedicated panel of ten judges and a minimum of five stellar reads to choose from every month.
The background to the Exclusive Books’ Boeke campaign is an interesting one. The Boeke Prize first began in 1995 as a tongue-in-cheek take on the celebrated British Man Booker Prize. The South African ‘Boeke’ celebrated top English fiction published in the preceding year. A panel of approximately 40 judges from the South African media would select their favourite read from a list of six to eight titles. The books were evaluated on their plot, gripping story lines, individuality and everything that makes a good book, great. The campaign grew into one of the most popular competitions with media members and Fanatics alike. Two winners were selected at the end of the promotion: a Judge’s Choice and a Fanatics’ Choice, which was announced at the Boeke Prize event.
Taking into account Boeke as the institution that it is, a decision was made to expand the campaign to run over the course of many months instead of six weeks and to change the format slightly to reinvigorate the campaign. Some things will change but many will stay the same:
- At the start of each month, Exclusive Books will put forward a minimum of five titles according to the demand in store, what titles are receiving glowing reviews, and what books are most talked about. One of these titles will be picked out as the Book of the Month.
- The ten media judges will receive the Book of the Month to read and rate.
- In October, Exclusive Books will host a media event that showcases the eight winning titles of the year and announce the grand winner.
- The campaign will now be known as Exclusive Books Recommends, with the winning book at the end of the year still receiving the ‘Boeke Prize’ at this awards event.
Exclusive Books Recommends kicks off in March 2013 with the following five reads being the first in the ‘Exclusive Books Recommends’ category: Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, Two Brothers by Ben Elton, The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence and Spiral House by Claire Robertson. The book of the month for March is Two Brothers, a wonderful read. If you must choose one, this is it.
Two Brothers by Ben Elton is set in Germany as she marches into her Nazi Armageddon. The ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And two brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice – which one of them will survive?
Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler is a uniquely heart-wrenching and life-affirming novel for fathers and daughters everywhere. Alice has just returned to London from months of travelling abroad. She is late to hear the news that her father is dying, and arrives at the family home only just in time to say goodbye.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis is the launch of an incredible literary talent, in the tradition of Toni Morrison and Marilynne Robinson. Through the stories of Hattie and her children, the novel presents a snapshot of American history across eight decades, from the Great Migration of the 1920s to the end of the twentieth century.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is the quirky story of seventeen-year-old Alex Woods. Born to a clairvoyant mother and a phantom father, victim of an improbable childhood accident – who is stopped at Dover customs in possession of 113 grams of marijuana and the ashes of his best friend, Vietnam veteran Isaac Peterson. What crazy thing will happen next?
The Spiral House is a tale of love, wig-making and enlightenment set in the cape colony. Two great love stories are intertwined even though they are two hundred years apart. In Claire Robertson’s majestic debut novel, two stories echo across centuries to expose that which binds us and sets us free.
Each book comes with the weight of an Exclusive Books’ recommendation. The brand looks forward to a new era of in this well-loved campaign with a history of superb recommendations and a future of excellent books that will thrill, regale and entertain the loyal Boeke fan. The campaign tagline “handpicked by our judges and fanatics” explains just how special each recommendation really is.
“We are very excited to breathe new life into our beloved Boeke campaign and see its wonderful past woven into its future,” said Remola Pillay, Deputy Marketing Manager at Exclusive Books. “ We are always honoured to recommend books to our loyal customers and we hope that they enjoy each of them as much as we do!”