Yangsze Choo, Jing-Jing Lee and Markus Zusak take part in the first of a series of six national public library events celebrating the Big Jubilee Read

The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected have today announced the first three online events in their national series for the Big Jubilee Read, a reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads from authors across the Commonwealth to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Run in collaboration with six regional Libraries Connected Networks, the series will be streamed on YouTube and accompanies the Big Jubilee Read booklist, a selection of beautiful and thrilling writing produced by authors from a wide range of Commonwealth countries which help readers to engage in the discovery and celebration of great books. The event programme will explore six key themes influencing writing, including journeys and migration, multiculturalism and diversity.

In the lead-up to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the series launches on 14 June at 7pm with a special event with Libraries Connected West Midlands, exploring writing from across the Commonwealth. Chaired by journalist Sarah Shaffi, authors Jing-Jing Lee (Singapore), Jacob Ross (Grenada) and Markus Zusak (Australia) will come together to discuss what the future for writing from the Commonwealth looks like and who will tell its stories. This will be followed by a second event ‘Journeys in the Commonwealth’, with Libraries Connected South West, a discussion on the creative influence of journeys and migration, hosted by Sue Williamson from Arts Council England with guests Nam Le and Kate Grenville (both Australia).

The third event in the series with Libraries Connected East of England will be hosted by poet, vlogger and presenter Leena Norms, who will be joined by authors Yangsze Choo (Malaysia), Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh) and Scholastique Mukasonga (Rwanda), and translator Melanie Mauthner for a celebration of writing by women from across the Commonwealth.

More events and dates will be announced as part of the programme in the coming weeks.

The Big Jubilee Read campaign uses the proven power of reading to unite the public around the shared stories that define our social and cultural heritage and is supported by activities in libraries and bookshops across the country. The Big Jubilee Read campaign is delivered in partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency with funding from Arts Council England. It is supported by Libraries Connected and the Booksellers Association. It follows on from other collaborations between The Reading Agency and the BBC, including the national Big Read survey in 2003.

Markus Zusak, Author of The Book Thief said: “When I finished The Book Thief twenty years ago in the backwaters of Sydney, I thought it would sink without a trace. I didn’t even think it would be published in the UK, so its inclusion in the Big Jubilee Read feels like its biggest miracle of all. I can’t wait to be part of the events programme.”

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “We’re thrilled to be working with our partners at Libraries Connected and BBC Arts to host this series of inspiring national events, which bring the Big Jubilee Read booklist to life through discussion and debate. We hope that these events will encourage people to explore the book list and spark a conversation about reading, which is at the heart of our shared social heritage.”

Follow the latest developments on social media:

@ReadingAgency @BBCArts @ACE_National


Get Immersive with the Gadgeteers!

StoryTrails and the Summer Reading Challenge help children explore technology and immersive storytelling this summer.

The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages over 700,000 children to read for pleasure over the summer holidays has teamed up with StoryTrails, the unique immersive storytelling experience which is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. The collaboration will bring the power of immersive storytelling to children and families this summer. A free activity pack for librarians, teaching staff and community youth leads will be available to download on the 25th May and includes resources, recommended apps, tools, suggested activities, session plans including activities which require no technology to access. This invaluable resource will give children and young people the opportunity to explore the themes of innovation, technology and immersive storytelling through the fun Summer Reading Challenge STEM theme of Gadgeteers. Download the pack

The activity pack is supported by two, free online events in partnership with The British Library’s Living Knowledge Network. The first event, taking place on 1st June at 1pm, will be an introduction to immersive storytelling with experts from StoryFutures Academy (the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling and the team behind StoryTrails), exploring some of the accessible and affordable ways to incorporate immersive storytelling in a library setting. The second, which will take place on 16 June at 1pm, is a deep dive into the ‘Get Immersive with the Gadgeteers Activity Pack’ with a focus on engaging children aged 4 to 11 in immersive storytelling through the Summer Reading Challenge.

Booking Information

Demystifying Immersive Storytelling with StoryTrails 1 June, 1-2pm REGISTER

Summer Reading Challenge x StoryTrails Pack 16 June, 1-2pm REGISTER

The collaboration between StoryTrails and the Summer Reading Challenge aims to share the power of immersive storytelling with children and failies across the nation as well as championing libraries, celebrating their position as centres of innovation in the community.

Professor James Bennett StoryTrails Director said: “Reading and storytelling go hand-in-hand. By offering accessible immersive storytelling activities to libraries to accompany this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, we can inspire the creativity and innovation of future generations.”

Chief Executive, Karen Napier MBE of The Reading Agency said: “This is an exciting opportunity to weave together the cutting-edge technology used in StoryTrails, the creativity of Unboxed and the celebration of reading which the Summer Reading Challenge has been providing to children all over the UK for over 20 years. We hope that this free activity pack will spark the curiosity of young people and we can’t wait to see how our library partners bring the activities to life this summer.”

For further details on StoryTrails visit story-trails.com and via Facebook and Instagram @StoryTrailsProject and Twitter @StoryFuturesA

For further details on this year’s Summer Reading Challenge visit summerreadingchallenge.org.uk and via Facebook

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Alexander Turton: [email protected]

Save the date for National Reading Group Day 2022

Mark 14 September in your diary for National Reading Group Day 2022!

National Reading Group Day is a celebration of reading groups and book clubs across the country. It’s the perfect opportunity to come together with your group, bring new members, talk about your favourite books that you’ve read together and more!

In previous years we’ve brought you booklists, online book clubs, competitions and more, so stay tuned to find out what’s in store for National Reading Group Day this year.

Why join a reading group?

There are lots of reasons to join reading groups:

  • Participation in shared reading groups is linked to enhanced relaxation, calmness, concentration, quality of life, confidence and self-esteem
  • You’re likely to enjoy a book more if you’re talking to other people about it, as you can share your thoughts about it
  • You can get book recommendations from the other people in your group, and you might find yourself liking something you never thought you would
  • 72% of reading group members say that they have read more since joining their group
  • It’s a great way to socialise – some groups only discuss the book, but many also catch up on what’s going on in their lives outside the group. Joining a reading group is a great way to meet new people and make new friends, especially if you’ve moved somewhere new

Join a group or start your own

If you’re not yet in a reading group, head over to Reading Groups for Everyone where you can find local groups to join, information about starting your own, and how you can access exclusive offers and opportunities.

Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards Launches Live Shortlist Event Series with The Reading Agency

The UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people is hosting #YotoCarnegieLIVE and #YotoGreenawayLIVE, two virtual shortlist events for young readers.

Held this May in partnership with The Reading Agency, the free, interactive events are for the thousands of reading groups who are shadowing the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, as well as schools, libraries and bookshops. There’s one event to celebrate each medal featuring a selection of the shortlisted illustrators and authors talking about their books, as well as answering questions from children and young people, ahead of the winner announcement on 16 June.

#YotoGreenawayLIVE: Monday 23 May, 12.30-1.30pm

Chaired by Amy McKay, school librarian and Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards national coordinator and featuring shortlisted illustrators George Butler (Drawn Across Borders), Mariachiara Di Giorgio (The Midnight Fair), Danica Novgorodoff (Long Way Down), Yu Rong (Shu Lin’s Grandpa) and Peter Van den Ende (The Wanderer). Register for free here

#YotoCarnegieLIVE: Thursday 26 May, 12.30-1.30pm

Chaired by Emma Braithwaite, head of skills and engagement at The Reading Agency and featuring shortlisted authors Sue Divin (Guard Your Heart), Phil Earle (When the Sky Falls), Julian Sedgwick (Tsunami Girl) and Alex Wheatle (Cane Warriors). Register for free here

Also for the first time, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards has created two downloadable event packs to enable any shadowing group, school, library or bookshop to host their own in-person Yoto Carnegie Medal #ReadAlong and Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal #DrawAlong celebrations. The event template, which includes video challenges set directly by shortlisted authors and illustrators, is designed to engage children and young people with the shortlisted books in a fun, creative way. It can be downloaded for free here

Jake Hope, chair of the CILIP Carnegie Greenaway Working Party, comments: “We are excited to be working with The Reading Agency for the first time this year on a new Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards live virtual event series, which will bring children and young people across the UK closer to the shortlisted authors and illustrators than ever before. We hope this opportunity to engage directly with the creators of some of the books shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals will really bring their stories to life. We’re also looking forward to seeing shadowing groups, schools, libraries and bookshops make use of our new downloadable #ReadAlong and #DrawAlong event packs to inspire young readers creatively and encourage them to read one or more of the shortlisted books.”

The Awards has also distributed shortlist POS packs to public and school libraries and retailers, including stickers, bookmarks and posters.

Winner announcement

The 2022 winners will be announced and celebrated on Thursday 16th June at a lunchtime ceremony at The British Library. It will also be livestreamed from 12pm. The event will be hosted by award-winning poet and novelist Dean Atta, who won the Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice for The Black Flamingo in 2020.

The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

Now in its fourth year, the Shadowers’ Choice Award - voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the Medals – will also be announced at the ceremony. Voting opens for participating shadowing groups on Monday 23rd May.

The Awards are sponsored by Yoto, the innovative, screen-free audio platform for children; Peters, the official book supplier; and ALCS, champions of authors’ rights. With their support, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards aim to inspire and empower a new generation of readers.

For further information on the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards please visit: ”carnegiegreenaway.org.uk”:https://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/

The Reading Agency

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