Hello Europe. This is Durham Calling.

A post by Collections Coordinator Tim Buckle

It can’t have escaped your attention that it is Eurovision again, and this year the UK are hosting the event on behalf of Ukraine. The contest is taking place in Liverpool.

I know Eurovision divides opinion, but whatever your views are about the music, one thing that is clear is the message of inclusion and equality that it sends out. Having just got back from Liverpool from the event, this sense of inclusion was everywhere to see and as a gay man it means a lot to be yourself and feel safe at the same time.

Whoever you are and whatever your background, Eurovision allows you to be yourself without any judgement. This is something that we encourage here at Durham University, especially in Library and Collections. Whether it is having a safe space for you to be yourself while studying, or seeing yourself represented in our collections we will continue to improve services and listen your feedback about collections and study spaces.

To celebrate Eurovision we have looked through our library collections and picked out some titles from countries that have previously won the contest. The titles we have picked have been published in the year the Country selected last won the Contest.

  1. Ireland

Ireland have won the contest a total of 7 times, and are currently the most successful country in the contest’s history. The last time they won, however, was back in 1996.

The title we have chosen from our collection is ‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt. This was published in 1996 the last time Ireland won.

2) Sweden

The next most successful Country in Eurovision is Sweden. They have won a total of 6 times and are hoping past winner Loreen makes it a 7th win to equal Ireland.

The title we have chosen for Sweden is a collection of poems ‘Bright Scythe: selected poems’ by Tomas Transtromer, published in 2015 the last time Sweden won.

3) UK

The next country we are highlighting is the UK. The UK has won a total of 5 times and are one of “The Big 5” . The last time was in 1997 when Katrina and the Waves won (although I still feel Gina G was robbed in 1996 – and hurt is still real).   

The title we have chosen from our collection is ‘Love in a blue time’  by Hanif Kureishi

4) Italy

Italy are another of “The Big 5”. They were one of the original countries to take part, but withdrew from the competition for 13 years and only returned in 2011. They recently won in 2021.

The title we have selected from our collection is ‘I margini e il dettato’ by Elena Ferrante.

5) Ukraine

Ukraine won most recently and only joined the contest in 2003. In that time they have won 3 times. The title we have selected is ‘The Dreamtime’ by Mstyslav Chernov

If you are wanting to read some non fiction about the actual contest we recommend  ‘A Song For Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest’.

So, whether you decide to watch the contest or not, we hope these titles are helpful recommendations for future reading 🙂

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