Something for everyone as 2018 Quick Reads titles announced

Six enticing Quick Reads titles from well loved authors have been announced by The Reading Agency for publication on 1 February 2018. The selection of titles written by bestselling writers Fern Britton, Dorothy Koomson, Mark Billingham, Kit de Waal, Tammy Cohen and Vaseem Khan span the globe from Mumbai to Ghana, from Cornwall to inner cities and explore a wide range of themes including friendship, secrets and lies, marriage and the horror that losing your phone can bring.

Quick Reads was founded by Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE in 2006 to provide shorter, easier to read, accessible fiction for less confident adult readers. Now in its 12th year, the programme has distributed over 4.8 million books since it was launched and introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers each year to the joys and benefits of reading.

One in six adults in the UK struggles with reading, whilst one in three does not read for pleasure; Quick Reads are designed to break down the barriers that prevent people from picking up a book. 95% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence in reading, whilst 91% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.

The 2018 titles

The Quick Reads titles for 2018 are:

Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown): A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.

The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins): As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.

Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld): A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late? Cohen’s acclaimed novels include The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives and Someone Else’s Wedding.

• Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton): An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing – and very costly – car for its gangster owner, or there’ll be a heavy price to pay.

The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow): A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter’s future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including The Ice-Cream Girls, My Best Friends’ Girl and most recently The Friend.

Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking): A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21 year-old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, My Name is Leon was published.

“A strong and varied collection”

Baroness Gail Rebuck, DBE, Founder, Quick Reads, says:

“Since the Quick Reads programme launched 12 years ago, it has brought the pleasures of reading to millions of adults. Once again, I am delighted to announce, alongside The Reading Agency, six more inspiring reads for 2018. Books that will entice, entertain and unlock new worlds; this selection of titles by bestselling writers is ideal for adults who may be low in reading skills, confidence and time.”

Fanny Blake, Commissioning Editor, Quick Reads, says:

“This year, I’m proud to introduce a very strong and varied new collection of Quick Reads for 2018 that has something for everyone. We have a gorgeous escapist tale by Fern Britton, set in her beloved Cornwall, Dorothy Koomson’s shock wedding drama played out in a Ghanaian beach resort, Vaseem Khan’s latest Inspector Chopra mystery set in Mumbai, a punchy thriller from Mark Billingham, a twisty portrait of a marriage from Tammy Cohen and a charming novella about an unlikely friendship from Kit de Waal. I hope lots of people will read and enjoy them!”

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, says:

“This is an exciting, varied list of titles which we hope will inspire people across the country to pick up a book, whether they lack confidence with reading or just want a light, easy read for their commute. At The Reading Agency we believe that everything changes when we read. Evidence shows that Quick Reads are a powerful tool in encouraging adults to read for pleasure.”

Mark Billingham, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“I am thrilled to be part of the Quick Reads initiative. It’s hugely important to support literacy and to encourage those for whom picking up a book does not come quite so naturally as it does to others. Reading a book is stepping into another world and anything that nudges that door open should be welcomed. It’s an honour to be a Quick Reads author.”

Fern Britton, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“I had one, much older sister as I was growing up so no siblings to play with. Finding books was my greatest joy. Fairy stories with lovely colourful drawings, Enid Blyton adventures and then The Chronicles of Narnia really shaped my imagination. The Quick Reads initiative is enormously important and offers great stories for anyone.”

Tammy Cohen, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with books so I’ve always known how a book can be friend, teacher, comfort, inspiration, conversation-starter, table-leg-propper-upper; how it can fill long journeys and even longer nights. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without reading, which is why I was so delighted to take part in the Quick Reads scheme. If I can help just one adult discover the life-changing joy of books, I’ll consider it one of my proudest achievements.”

Vaseem Khan, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“I firmly believe that reading is the foundation for learning. Growing up as someone from a less economically advantaged background reading was both my escape and my inspiration. Today I am a writer because of reading. But reading doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Quick Reads’ great insight is to realise that even those who find reading a challenge hanker for exciting, well-written stories that are simple to read. I am delighted that Quick Reads has given me the opportunity to inspire others by providing at least one such story.”

Dorothy Koomson, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“I am thrilled to have written The Beach Wedding for Quick Reads 2018. I’ve been a long-term supporter of this scheme, which helps people who aren’t confident readers or who have got out of the habit of reading for pleasure. I believe reading is very empowering and I support all things that encourage people to build their ability with it.”

Kit de Waal, 2018 Quick Reads author, says:

“It’s a real privilege to be asked to write something for Quick Reads. There were no books in the house I grew up in. I only started reading and writing later in life and discovered how important books are and that everyone, no matter what your ability or circumstances, can enjoy reading and have that sense of accomplishment when you turn that last page. Books can change lives – sometimes for a minute, sometimes for a lifetime. Quick Reads can be part of that change and I hope I have been part of it too.”

Get involved

Find out more about Quick Reads

Read about our other programmes for adults

ITV’s Vera author announces support for reading programme on International Literacy Day

• Ann Cleeves pledges to name character in one of her new books after winner of literacy prize draw
• Authors Dreda Say Mitchell, Andy McNab, Bali Rai, Adele Parks and Martina Cole also pledge their support
• Reading Ahead celebrates 10th anniversary this year
• Programme has reached 275,000 less confident readers since 2008 in colleges, workplaces, prisons and libraries

8 September 2017: Bestselling writer Ann Cleeves, the author behind ITV’s Vera starring Brenda Blethyn and Shetland on BBC One, will name a character in one of her new books after the winner of a national literacy prize draw. Ann’s latest Vera novel, The Seagull, was published on 7 September.

The competition is open to all young people and adults who complete The Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead programme, to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Ann says:

“To share the gift of reading and of stories is a brilliant thing, so I am delighted to support this fantastic programme which helps people gain the confidence to read for pleasure. Please do get your organisation involved; one of the people you support may find themselves in my next novel.”

Ann’s name will also appear on the certificate given to completers of the programme, alongside bestselling authors Martina Cole, Dreda Say Mitchell, Bali Rai, Adele Parks and Andy McNab, who have also pledged their support.

“I help my children with their reading more”

Theresa.jpgReading Ahead (formerly called the Six Book Challenge) was launched in 2008 to support young people and adults by changing their perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence. 275,000 less confident readers have taken part since then at public libraries, adult learning organisations, colleges, workplaces and prisons.

Theresa, 33, completed Reading Ahead in 2016 to support her English classes at Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service. She says:

“Completing it meant a lot to me – it gave me confidence and reading helps me learn things I didn’t know about. It has helped me to help my children with their reading a lot more than I used to.”

Neil MacInnes, President of the Society of Chief Librarians and Head of Libraries in Manchester, says:

“Reading Ahead has greatly enhanced our city-wide reading campaign, Read Manchester. It is an integral part of our public library reading offer – engaging residents, raising the profile of reading and encouraging partnership working.”

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, says:

“The first ten years of Reading Ahead have been hugely rewarding for everyone who has taken part. It’s been fabulous to see so many people in such different settings gain the confidence to read for pleasure, with all the benefits it can bring. We owe a big thank you to everyone who has supported the programme so far. We know it works so let’s use it to create thousands more new readers in the next ten years.”

About Reading Ahead

• Reading Ahead invites participants to pick six reads and record, rate and review them in a diary in order to get a certificate. They can read newspapers, magazines and digital text as well as books.
• Reading Ahead has been run by more than 90 further education and sixth form colleges across the UK this year, and is increasingly being used to support students who are taking or retaking GCSE English Language as well Functional Skills and ESOL courses.
• Reading Ahead has reached around 66,000 prisoners over ten years.
• More than nine in ten (93%) organisations think Reading Ahead increased their participants’ reading confidence and enjoyment of reading in 2016/17.

Get involved

Reading Ahead has had a transformational effect on many people over the last 10 years. Find out how Mohamed, Theresa and Nikola have benefited and how their lives have changed since.

Order promotional packs to run Reading Ahead at your organisation

See the roll of honour of organisations who achieved the most completers in 2016-2017

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