Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

American Texts Disappearing From UK Reading Lists


The United Kingdom may share a language and much else United States, but if the country’s education minister has his way, the two will not have a shared literary canon.

New literature standards, published Friday and reportedly designed with the personal involvement of Education Secretary Michael Gove, are causing British exam boards to strike “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Crucible,” and other classics of American literature from the canon used by students in England and Wales to prepare for the GSCE exams administered to 16-year-olds. The deletions are part of a broader effort by Gove to reemphasize writers hailing from the British Isles.

The recently deceased Maya Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is another book facing Gove’s axe.

The effect isn’t limited to the United States, as many African, Asian, and continental European authors are getting the boot as well.

The changes should have a major effect on what British schoolchildren study. John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” for instance, was read by about 90 percent of English schoolchildren in previous years. Gove, who himself studied English literature at Oxford, “really dislikes” the book according to the British exam board OCR, and unsurprisingly, it is disappearing from reading lists as well.

Gove and his defenders say that the new policy actually expands the texts schoolchildren are exposed to. Beyond requirements that students read at least one 19th-century novel, a collection of Romantic poems, a play by William Shakespeare, and one British work published since 1914, students are free to read anything, the education ministry said in a statement.

In the UK, however, GSCE exams are not uniform but rather prepared by one of five different independent exam boards. Each board publishes lists of texts that it suggests students may read to prepare for the literature exam.

With a previous requirement that students study works from foreign cultures eliminated, and UK exam boards seem to be responding by recommending almost exclusively British texts. The largest exam board, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, has no American plays or novels at all on its list of proposed texts.

As a result, even if American works are not “banned,” as some have claimed, their disappearance from suggested reading lists will likely mean they are assigned by far fewer British teachers.

Follow Blake on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

BarbWire Books is pleased to announce

Homosexual Agenda and the US Military

Dr. Sonny Hernandez

Homosexual Agenda and the US Military is a field manual for US service members and military chaplains. This Gospel-Centered, polemical book exposes the homosexual agenda that adversely affects Religious Liberty for Christians. There are several homosexual activists that will demand equality and tolerance. However, homosexual activists are not so equal or tolerant towards anyone that disagrees with their position on same sex marriage or transgenderism. They will claim to love all, but they really do not mean all—they mean agenda. This is because the homosexual agenda has a definition for inclusivity—their way or the highway.


Posting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read More

Don't miss a thing. Sign up for our email newsletter to become a BarbWire insider.

Send this to friend