This year, we're going to be launching an outreach program designed to engage teenagers in the arts.

To kick off the program, we've chosen a few classic 20th century works of literature to read and discuss, and have come up with a fun online format to discuss these works in a community setting.

Students from across the country are invited to participate.

European Literature

We've decided to break the programme into two parts, representing both European and American literature. We encourage students to choose one of the two works from each section.

George Orwell's Animal Farm

Easily one of the most famous works of the 20th century, Animal Farm provides the allegoric critique of the socialist revolution in Russia and the rise of the Stalinistic regime.

This novel is clever, witty, and fun, even as it deals with some of the most serious and complex themes of its age. Click here for a copy of the Animal Farm audiobook.

James Joyce's A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Perhaps one of the best coming of age stories of all time, Joyce left us a true treasue in Portrait of an Artist. The novel is famous for the eclectic writing style that adapts to the main character it represents, as he uses the narration itself to develop a number of different aspects of the protagonists childhood and emergence into adulthood.

Unfortunately, this work is often shunned by teenagers, because it can be somewhat complex to understand on a first reading. our aim is to make the novel more approachable to the teenage mind by leveraging the forum setup.

Get the audio here from audible.

American Literature

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Easily the most famous novel of the Jazz Age in America, The Great Gatsby epitomizes the height of luxuriousness and the American class system during the roaring 20s, before the crash into the Great Depression.

The novel takes place in a Long Island suburb of New York, where wealthy generational elite come for the summer, and yet focuses on an outsider who brings with him a fresh perspective to the area, questioning the way that society is structured, and bringing to the forefront many issues that traditional society would rather left unsaid.

Get theĀ Great Gatsby audiobbook here.

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

Far from the luxurious setting of Gatsby, Of Mice and Men depicts the "other half" so to speak, as it focuses on a California working class farm town. Two friends, Lennie and George.

George is small but cunning, while Lennie is a gentle giant who inadvertently gets himself into trouble from his lack of common sense and intelligence. The novel shows the plight of the working class during lean years in the US, and shows how a band between men can shape and define their individualistic lives.

Listen to the Of Mice and Men audiobook.

I hope you enjoy these novels and are excited for this new programme. To sign up, simply find our page on goodreads, and subscribe to the forum we'll be creating for each book.

As we mentioned above, we encourage all participants to read one novel from the European suggestions and one from the American suggestion. Best of luck and we look forward to hearing your views and insights!