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The Big Read Collaboration between Kingston University, the University of Wolverhampton, Edge Hill University, and the University of the West of Scotland, 2018-2019This paper outlines the experience of four universities that collaborated on a pre-arrival shared reading project, the Big Read, in 2018/2019. They did so primarily to promote student engagement and retention and also to ease the transition into higher education, particularly for first-generation students, to promote staff connectedness, and to provide a USP (unique selling point) for their institution. The paper covers all the associated processes, from isolating the respective aims of the collaborators to the choosing and sharing of a single agreed title. In analysing the outcomes, recommendations are made for future cross-institutional projects of this kind.